Sunday 16 February 2014

10th & 11th April, 1948 - Weapons returned in Haifa and Ron is impressed by S.S. Samaria.

Saturday, 10th April, 1948
We had to be up early this morning to complete all that had to be done and be ready for leaving at 8a.m.
A reduced convoy set off, for the heavy baggage
trucks had continued to Haifa on the 8th.

We had difficulty in finding a road to Haifa for the two main roads have been blown up in local Arab-Jewish tussles.  Eventually by going a long way out of the normal route and even in one place off the beaten track we did get through.

The Jews where they did not want to close the road near a settlement, “lumped” it so that vehicles could still use the road but were forced to travel at a very slow pace.

Initially a luxury cruise ship, Samaria carried
passengers around the world.  After serving as a
 troopship during the war, she later carried
immigrants to Canada
In Haifa we straightway handed in our rifles and ammunition which we were glad to lose, then we joined a huge queue to receive embarkation cards & mess deck places.
We collected our small luggage and boarded a landing barge which took us out to the 20,000 ton S.S.Samaria.

Sunday, 11th April, 1948
Last afternoon we left Haifa behind in a cloudy mist and turned away from Palestine wondering if it would be for ever.
The ship is much larger and better than the one I came out on.  We are sleeping in hammocks with our N.C.O.’s all on the same mess deck.  We dine with the military personnel in the sergeant’s mess.  The food is excellent, better than I have had for a long time.
Last night my friend and I slept on deck in our hammocks last night.  It rained during the night but we were comfortable in our cover.
This morning we were up by 5.30a.m. and spent the day walking the decks and reading a little.
The swell has been only very slight but already several of the passengers have been sick.

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