…but I’m not sure, and I’m wondering how anyone is ever confident enough to actually make such claims as these! However, I’ll tell you what I found and you can decide for yourself if I have actually traced the troopship that took my father (Gordon Charles Dinnis) to fight in World War 2.
Last time I wrote a post I explained how I’d read another detailed account of a journey on board a troopship that began in October 1943 (Bob Cotton), and I compared it with my father’s account of travelling at the same time. They both talked about Geraldo and his orchestra being on board and giving a concert, so I took it to be the same ship.
Since then I have done further reading of Bob Cotton’s account, which is far more detailed than my father’s letters home to his mother and Bob mentions an onboard rumour that the ships name was ‘Dominion Monarch’.
R.J. Cotton, WW2 Peoples’s War. WW2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. the archive can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar.
I looked up more information about ‘Dominion Monarch’ and found the British Government requisitioned her in 1940. She was stripped of her fine fittings and was fitted out with 3556 berths, painted grey and began her service as a trooper. She carried over 2900 American and British military personal and brought thousands of wounded soldiers home.
On this website there is then quoted an E-mail from one of the troopers (John Curtis) who sailed on her in October 1943 (the same date as my father, and Bob Cotton).
“The most exciting thing about this journey was the fact that Geraldo and his Orchestra were on board as they were bound for the Middle East to entertain the troops. Therefore we were entertained each night which certainly relieved the apprehension fo what could have been a dangerous voyage.” http://www.ssmaritime.com/dominionmanarch.html
In my head, I’m thinking Geraldo could only have made one journey in October 1943, and my father was definitely on that same ship. So this ship was ‘Dominion Monarch’?
And then I looked online and bought a postcard of this ship, and here it is:
I have some more information about the ship, which I will write in a separate post because this one is getting too long! So what do you think? Am I right in thinking this is the troopship my father travelled on, or am I inventing connections where there are none? This family history thing is hard sometimes!