- 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
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
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
April 18, 1943
No Longer Aboard the
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.
Dad's Mom Anna Galik
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
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.
"Gay" Galik S.C. 3C
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
A Glimpse of Life at Tent City - Arzew, Algeria
Above is "Boston Blackie" probably playing
a soothing tune to relax the troops after training exercises.
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 THE SWIM
Below I believe is my father, Stanley
Galik, who just happened to be "caught with his pants down".
SATURDAY NIGHT SHOWER
Cleaning up after strenuous
May 30, 1943
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...
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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)
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
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.