by Sgt. Ken Sullivan, Indiana
Sgt. Ken Sullivan sailed on the QUEEN MARY when he shipped out to World War II in 1944, at the age of 22. His daughter Barb, asked him to write his recollections of the crossing. “He is now 84 years old, and in very poor health with emphysema, but he typed out his memories”. “His recollections of this grand old ship are not pleasant ones. But they are part of the history of QM, and of WWII” – 2006.
Sgt. Ken Sullivan’s daughter Barbara Sullivan Benecki, finds her father pictured on the display onboard QUEEN MARY in Long Beach, CA, during a visit in 2003 (looking down upon daughter)
Here are his recollections:
It was cold and dreary as we all prepared to board the Queen Mary on the 25th of December, 1944. We had all spent fifteen weeks in training, such as it was. Now we were shipping out to Europe and World War II. I had to leave behind my dear wife and my child of about 2 yrs old. They did not know where I was going or when I would be back. OK we all crowded on board some way. It was so crowded that we had to eat in different shifts. Also we slept two guys to a bunk. It was really rough when we had to shave. There was a rail next to us where all the puke and urine went. It was so hard to keep food on your stomach while this was going on. You met strangers who one day would help you live or die. This was when I started to smoke two packs of smokes per day. And to this day it hurts me very much as I can hardly breathe. The trip across was scary as we saw many ships not flying our flag. We saw several subs too. I learned to play cards and shoot dice. This was one trip I hope I never have to make again.
–Sgt. Ken Sullivan, Indiana
Sgt. Ken Sullivan’s pictured on the display onboard QUEEN MARY in Long Beach, CA. (center left)
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland.Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.
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