Mediterranean Cruise

1947 - 1948, page 4

Gibraltar

Our first Mediterranean port was Gilbraltar, located at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.  It is a massive upthrust of solid rock.  It is ruled by Great Britain and is their smallest territory.  A narrow spit of land/sand separates it from Spain.  There are gun emplacements everywhere starting half-way up the sides manned by British troops.  They share their area with hundreds of monkeys.

There are no wells; too rocky.  They have built a massive concrete rainwater catch-basin on the East side of the rock (see photo, above – you can see the slopes of the eastside catch-basin.).

My dad had worked for Prudential Insurance Company for a short period during the depression, and since the Rock of Gibraltar is its logo I brought a piece of the rock back as a souvenir.  I also stepped across the border into Spain (with the guard’s permission, of course) just so I could say that I had been in Spain.

Small World

The Chaplain

The first Sunday aboard the Midway, I went down to the hangar deck where Catholic Mass was being held.  There were about 600 sailors there.  The priest (Chaplain W. A. Mahler) came out and started Mass.  There was no altar boy.  After a few minutes I went up and served Mass.  Afterwards, while the Chaplain was removing the vestments, we got acquainted.  Turns out he was the Chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh in 1928 when I was born.  I told him I sure didn’t remember him.  I served his Masses the entire time I was on board (10 months).  I got to know him quite well and I often wished other priests that I met later in life could have been as neat as he.  He was the one who put together the ’47-’48 Mediterranean Cruise Book, the first and best of all the Midway cruise books.

The Marine

The first evening after the Marines came on board the ship (more on this later) one of them came out on the walkway next to the flight deck where I was checking the salt build-up on the radio antennas.  We started talking and I kept thinking I knew him.  I asked where he was from.  “Pittsburgh” was his reply, “in a little suburb that most people never heard of”.  I told him I was also from Pittsburgh and lived in a suburb called Sheridan.  So did he!  We had lived a few blocks from each other when we were roughly six to twelve years old.
 

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