Page 61 - Max Basque, Whycocomagh Part 2
ISSUE : Issue 52
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1
over, our Number 1 man during the war, they kicked out. That was a little while after V- E Day, even before V-J Day.... Well, that fall of '45, (sailed) back to England. And back again, into Saint John. I think it was in March we got back (1946). So, I went to the manning pool. And, first thing, "Boy," he was saying, "boy, there's a good ship. It's heading for China." Seems to me everybody wanted to get on it. 'Cause most of us had never been to China. And my name was way down the list--fireman. And, well, I'd look this list over, and I'd go uptown or (work) around. Some of the boys got spot jobs like this. I remember I used to do the same thing in Halifax, waiting for a ship. Go down to Joe Simon, the junk man. Drive all over the place, picking up junk. And get paid. Then in the evening I'd work down in the Allied Seamen's Club, gathering the empties. Make a little extra. Fellow said, "You must be rich!" I never saved a cent!... But one morning. I was in the reading room.... I didn't take off like I generally do. Pretty soon they called out a name -- they called out the name "fireman, water- tender." Another name. And I'm way down, it must have been about 6 numbers--6 names down the list. After awhile they came to my name: "Maximius Basque--fireman, water- tender." "Where in the world am I going now?" Told me to go to this Kitsilano Park, the China clipper. They called it a China clipper--boy, I was some glad! What a long trip from Saint John. We had a load of rails. And about, I think it was 4 or 6 English-type locomotives on the deck load. And the rest were rails, for Canton, China. We went to Hong Kong with that, and from there they loaded them onto other types, 'cause our ship wouldn't go up that --I forget the name of that river going up to Canton. It was a long time--49 days from Saint John. Eleven days to Panama. The chief engineer was saying. "It would be 800 miles shorter if we went by way of Red Sea to Hong Kong. But this way"--we took on 1300 tons of fuel oil at Aruba-- that's West Indies. And in 11 days we were in Panama. And from there. 38 days to Hong Kong. Eleven thousand miles. We went quite north. Now. Panama is just a few degrees from the equator, and Hong Kong is not much further north. But we went up--we could spot the islands off of California. That's the most direct route. But we finally landed in Hong Kong. And we were there first of July. We were 54 days without going ashore. And our union orga? nizer- -all the union--"head push" we used to call him. He was a great for that la? bour movement, everything was communist. But, a lot of C.S.U.--that Canadian Sea? men's Union. First thing, he said, "We got to do something for the boys." He said, "This is Union Day. We'll chip in for a good big wreath, because they'll be having some kind of service up at Happy Valley"-- where all the Canadians are buried, the ones that got killed in Hong Kong. (Read? ers might want to see Austin Roberts' sto? ry about the Hong Kong experience in World War Two, in Issue 47 of CAPE BRETON'S MAG? AZINE. ) So we chipped in and we raised around $40 or $50. (Got) a wreath, and he'd talk to the skipper, to lay the Richmond County's Route 4: The road not taken! JOYCE'S MOTEL & COTTAGES Situated on the Shore of the Bras D'Or Lake One Mile East of St. Peters on Highway 4 (902) 535-2404 "Come to the Joyce's and enjoy country living at its best." HlEITAGl flA EOOM Our Specialties Are Seafood and Home Baking We are Open Daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (902) 535-2089 Grenville Street in St. Peters MacDonald Hotel Dining Room and Lounge Home Cooking with a Gourmet Touch Specializing in Fresh Seafood Recommended by Taste of Nova Scotia (902) 535-2997 ARDEN & ( REASONABLE RATES ) ""mof'farT Highway 4 • ST. PETERS Tartpr'' Log style UQI ICI ' Housekeeping Lakeside '?"'''' LOKC'IUC Playground Cottaqes 'oatTours '*' Swimming 902-535-2453 F'shing R. R. #2, ST. PETERS "I t • )ok the road n ...and that has mi ROUTE 4 Richmond County! ot taken ide all the difference." -Robert Frost
Cape Breton's Magazine