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April - August 1943 - North Africa

April 13, 1943

Arrival of LCI (L) 229 - Tenes, Algeria
The LCI (L) 229 and other vessels arrived in Tenes, Algeria on April 13th as noted in the War Notes of Commander Lorenzo Sherwood Sabin Jr.

Commander Sabin was given additional duties to establish Tenes, Algeria as a Training Base.  He arrived late in the evening on April 12th and began discussions to establish the training base the next day. Commander Sabin tried convincing an Army officer on the need for Anti-Aircraft and Harbor protection, but the Army officer was not convinced of the immediate need for such protection.  After surveying the area, he did comment to Commander Sabin that "there were excellent positions for guns, but since there were no ships in the harbor, the Army wouldn't waste guns here"...

Shortly after the Army Officer uttered his statement, Commander Sabin noticed a minesweeper entering the harbor. On a hunch, Commander Sabin thought that other ships would be following behind the minesweeper. Commander Sabin turned to the Army officer and asked him "How soon can you get these defenses started after we get ships? The Army officer replied: "In about two hours". Commander Sabin then said: "Well you better get started - within a half hour you'll see plenty of ships in this harbor. God Bless my hunches". With that, thirty-five (35) ships including the LCI 229 arrived in the harbor. Needless to say, the AA guns were installed right away.

From the War Notes of Commander Lorenzo Sherwood Sabin, Jr.

March 27 - April 13, 1943

Dad's Description of His Ocean Crossing

In Dad's letters sent to his sister in May and June, he gave a little description of the ocean crossing and what it was like being "just a cook slaving over a hot stove". Dad commented that he:

... Got seasick once on the trip"... [and] I know that I'm a better cook than any women-she at least never juggled with sliding pots or cooked with one foot in the air-fact is she never cooked on a rolling sea ha ha ha. Sure was an experience and how ...Say if you think I was kidding about a cook at sea uh! uh! Really an experience in itself. From side- to-side then up and down-wow..."

April 18, 1943

No Longer Aboard the LCI 229
Dad was assigned to Flotilla Two Staff (Pool) on this date and informed his sister in a letter on May 7th that he was ...not on my ship but stationed here in North Africa... and in also in a V-Mail message postmarked May 13, 1943 were he said that he was " ...transferred from my ship and am now on a base. I cook here now and rather like it...Dad also found out that his younger brother Andy is now a sailor and said ...well now -- look at his proud brother would you?...

May 1 - August 17, 1943

 

May 9, 1943

Mother's Day Poem

Dad wrote the poem below to his Mother in the hope that it would give her and other mothers strength and courage while their sons were serving their country far from home.

 

Anna Galik - Stanley Galik's Mom

Dad's Mom Anna Galik

Mother's Day

At camp this day, as I lay in bed,
These words of prayer to myself Iíd said,
Please! Dear God, in heaven above
Bless my mother - whom Iíll always love

Then I continued by saying so clear
Mothers are blessed Ė our only dear.
Oh begged the Lord, that I be heard
And as I speak--Mom hears these words.
Dearest Mother though I be very far away
Listen closely as these words I say;
These words I speak, are of one so fine
None finer by far-than the mother of mine.
Why, when you laugh-on just a smile
I know as always-itís all worthwhile
Then I remember and let out with a sigh
Thatís when weíre hurt-you too would cry
These words I speak for one so pure
Arenít words of lies of this Iím sure
They are but memories from my start
And this love I feel-come from heart
So now I close these little rhymes
I remember this one swell day
Dedicated to Mothers-far away.

Stan "Gay" Galik S.C. 3C
North Africa

May 16, 1943

Time in Algeria and Blondie

In a May 16th V-Mail letter Dad indicated that he still was in Algeria and finding his time "enjoyable and educational". Dad was somewhat concerned that he had no news from home except from Blondie who, "as always, writes constantly". Dad was also expressing some concern that the album he requested to be sent to him on several occasions had not arrived nor have any of the pictures that were taken when he was home for the holidays.


While in the Arzew and Oran area, Dad was able to visit a few sites. A few pictures of these sites were in his scrapbooks.

Since Dad did not write about his time spent in Arzew or Oran, the stories associated with the following photos cannot be told. What they do provide is a little glimpse into what the living conditions were like in what Dad described as "Tent City".

A Glimpse of Life at Tent City - Arzew, Algeria

Boston Blackie with a Guitar

BOSTON BLACKIE WITH GUITAR

Above is "Boston Blackie" probably playing a soothing tune to relax the troops after training exercises.

 

Boston Blackie on Guard

BOSTON BLACKIE ON GUARD

Boston Blackie is shown above handling a rifle instead of his guitar.

 

Below are some sailors (sans clothes) after swimming in the blue Mediterranean.

Posing Nude After A Swim

POSING NUDE AFTER THE SWIM

Below I believe is my father, Stanley Galik, who just happened to be "caught with his pants down".

Saturday Night Shower

  SATURDAY NIGHT SHOWER

Navy Amphibious

NAVY AMPHIBIOUS

Cleaning up after strenuous training exercises

 

May 30, 1943

Receiving Mail - Sites Visited

On May 30th Dad wrote another letter to his sister in which he described his emotions in receiving mail from home.

...If God had given to this world a pleasure finer than receiving mail from home--then I believe I've yet to find it...

Dad went on to indicate that he visited (city was cut out by censors) and "found it interesting". The following sites in Arzew could be what Dad found interesting.


Arzew Graveyard Arzew Graveyard Arzew Graveyard

GRAVEYARD IN ARZEW

In this same May 30, 1943 letter Dad reassured his sister that she had to ...never worry about me forgetting God. I guess the saying about an atheist in a foxhole fits me to a T. Read the Bible often and actually pray each night...

Dad also continued to bemoan the fact that:

...I haven't received my album and if its possible take a check on it. Boy if I lose it. I'm still waiting for the pictures in the yard. Send them won't you?

June 9, 1943

Reflection on Mother's Day Poem - Going to Church

In his letter to his sister dated June 9, 1943 Dad indicated that he finally received his sister Mae's May 25th letter that contained the pictures that he had taken while he was home during the holidays . He also spoke about the poem he wrote for his mother on Mother's Day (May 9, 1943). Dad said:

...When I'd written mother on Mother's Day and wrote that poem. I was of the hopes the strength of my writing would have been felt by all mom's that would read it...

Dad also responded to his sister's inquiry regarding whether he's had a chance to go to church.

...I've been to church once here in Africa. I've been kept busy most of the time. I do pray a lot now (Dad underlined these words to emphasize that he kept his faith) and read over the prayer book that "Blondie" sent me some time ago...

Andy, Stan's brother who recently enlisted in the Navy sent him a letter describing how much he also enjoyed the Navy.  Andy also sent him a picture of his girlfriend Alice Smith.

In his letter Dad said that:

...Can't blame Andy for liking the Navy. It's really the best outfit by far. I love it, not only like it.

Of course Dad also discussed "Blondie" who he mentioned that:

...Blondie wrote telling me she'd been to see mother. Aren't girls loving after awhile? Darn her she got me thinking too much of her...

In closing his letter Dad inquired whether there was a headstone yet for his father who died in 1936.


Bizerte - Tunis, Tunisia

Base X Ray Naval Base - Bizerte Harbor in July 1943


Base X-Ray Naval Base

Bizerte Harbor July 1943


Pictured above is a view of Bizerte Harbor probably taken during the preparation for the Invasion of Sicily. Dad was not yet aboard the LCI 35 at the time and the photos below were probably taken sometime in June 1943 after Flotilla Two arrived in Bizerte during the month of May 1943.

July 8, 1943

Comments Related to His Brothers

The July 8th postmarked V-mail to his sister just made some general comments about Andy "who probably been home and gone" by now and that his Brother Lloyd had a new love interest in a girl named Veronica (she ultimately married Lloyd but was called Ronnie by everyone).

July 20, 1943

Daily Routine and Poetry
Dad's July 20th V-mail included some comments regarding his duty with the Flotilla Two Staff (Pool) when he complained to his sister:

...You must understand how I feel at times as this place gets monotonous and I blame it on the mail as usual...

Dad also mentioned the poem that he wrote on Mother's Day:

...If that poem gets published send me a couple of copies- say a dozen-no conceit here huh!...

July 27, 1943

Eating Melons and Cooking for the Wolves

In a follow up V-mail of July 27th Dad asked his sister to send him the pictures she mentioned that she saw in the newspaper of people he knew and that he would like to have them. Dad closed the letter by say that he is

...Eating melons and grapes by the load...I must close now as I have to get up very early to cook chow for the wolves...

August 7, 1943

Making Allotments

Dad's August 7th letter informed his sister of a change in address in preparation for his reassignment. He also informed his sister of what his intentions were regarding an allotment in her name in the event that something should happen to him during the war:

...Mae, remember me telling you that I'd changed a lot-well to sort of prove this, sometime in the near future I'll send some bonds home, about $300 worth. From then on I'm having an allotment made out for a fifty dollar bond a month. It will be in you name. In the event that something should go wrong (dramatic, eh?)...

August 17, 1943

Dad's Transfer to USS LCI (L) 35
Dad transferred from Flotilla Two Staff (Pool) to USS LCI (L) 35 in Bizerte, Africa. This was the same day that the USS LCI (L) 1 was sunk as a result of enemy action. 25 Sailors were wounded in the attack, but fortunately, all survived.

August 26, 1943

Received his "Lucky Piece"

On August 26th Dad wrote to his sister Mae and indicated that the album and photos he asked for before leaving for overseas finally arrived. Dad also gave a hint about the upcoming invasion of Italy. Dad said:

...Received my lucky piece too. My album arrived and the scream I'd let out shook Berlin. Then came my poem. Then came some pictures of Andy [his brother also in the Navy serving in the Pacific]...I written another poem that the Army newspaper "The Stars and Stripes" published...All as yet is well, something's going to break soon, I guess. Hope so darn it--this waiting around sure gets a guy"...

The something that was going to break soon turned out to be the Invasion of Italy at Salerno.

 

Stanley Galik in Front of LCI 213

Stanley Galik

Standing in Front of the LCI 213.

This photo may have been taken either in Arzew or Oran when Dad served as a cook with the Flotilla Two Staff (Pool).

Andy Galik LST 218- Brother of Stanley Galik

Andy Galik

Stan's Brother Andy joined the US Navy in 1943.  Dad found out about his enlistment in a letter that he received from his Sister Mae sometime in April 1943.  Andy later served as a Seaman aboard the LST 218 in the Pacific.

Amphibious Training was conducted in North Africa in preparation for future invasions and landings. Arzew was one of the bases where such training was conducted. The photos below give a glimpse of what the amphibious training base looked like with several key places identified. Notice the Quonset Huts in some of the photos and the "tents" used for the Galley and Post Office.

The 3 most important places for a servicemen were: (1) Hospital; (2) Galley (Food); and (3) Post Office and Barber Shop


Hospital
Hospital

Galley

Galley

Navy personnel lined up for chow.

Post Office and Barber Shop

Post Office and Barber Shop

Dad's brother Andy sent him a letter with a picture of his girlfriend from Bloomfield.

Andy Galik's Girlfriend Alice Smith on Right

Andy's girlfriend Alice Smith on the right

Arabs with Soldier in Arzew


Picture of 2 Arabs with Soldier - Arzew

Map of Tunisia

Map of Tunisia

Map from Samuel Eliot Morison's Vol IX: History of US Naval Operations in World War II.

 

Dad spent some time in Tunis and Bizerte serving as a cook with the Flotilla Two Staff (Pool).  During the time that Dad was with Flotilla Two Staff (Pool) he had the opportunity to see some other sites in North Africa. The following photos probably were taken sometime before he arrived aboard the LCI 35.


View of Arabs in Ferryville
Arabs As Seen from a Car in Ferryville, Tunisia

While in Bizerte prior to his transfer to LCI 35 Dad also had the opportunity to visit the ruins in Carthage and visit a Cathedral in Tunis. Below are photos of these two sites.

Carthage Ruins

Ruins in Carthage, Tunisia

Cathedral in Tunisia

Cathedral in Tunis, Tunisia


Other Photos - Bone, Algeria

German 88 Guns in Bone

View of German 88 Guns

Bone, Algeria

Dad said of these German 88 Guns:

"Kind that causes a guy to really get scared".  (Picture is of poor quality)


Beached Liberty Ship

View of a Beached Liberty Ship

Location Unknown

(picture is of poor quality)


Top Side View of LST
Top Side View of LST


View from a LST from Another Ship
View from an LST of an Unidentified Ship

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