Wednesday, January 16, 2013

USS President Polk (AP-103) transport--Voyage to New Zealand. John Morgan Rex, December 30, 1941 letter.

 USS President Polk (AP-103) was a President Jackson-class attack transport
 in the service of the United States Navy during World War II. Picture from Wikipedia.

This entire four-page letter is typed below.

Dec 30, 1941                           
Aboard SS Pres Polk at Sea.
Dear Helen & Glenn,
I have once more settled myself down to do some letter writing and I guess you are at the head of the list tonite. I am now down in the dinning room here on ship. Nearly all the officers are here and a few of the S/Sgt’s. There are all kinds of games going on. They are gambling with nearly everything, matches, cigaretts, and some money. Oh for the life of a soldier. There is a Piano at the far end and there is a group gathered around it. The boat is doing a little diving and pitching tonite but it has been mostly a roll till now. We have now been at sea nearly 12 days. I have seen nothing of land during that time either. I hope we see some soon.
The trip has been perfect so far. The S.S. Pres. Polk is just a new ship and I am traveling 1st class. Oh for swell. The meals are perfect and so is the State room with bath & shower.
At the present time Sis I’d hate to try and say just where I am at but we must be getting near the place Stewart McKinnon was on a mission [New Zealand], you know, don’t you. We sailed south for about 10 days then the last day or two we have been going west. It took us nearly 5 days to make it to the Equator, we crossed it Xmas Eve. The next day (Xmas day) we had a ceremony for some of the officers. I got pictures of it all.
It was Hot for a day or two but now it is getting colder. I hope we don’t end up at the South Pole. Ha Ha. I think we will be in port before long though. How long we will be there is hard to say. I hope a couple of days or so.
As yet I have seen nothing of the war. We did have a little scare today though but it was nothing. We have [illegible] & Life boat drill every so often too.
Christmas was quite different this year but it was swell. We had a Christmas tree here in the dinning room. And the most wonderful dinner. Yes I waited til Xmas morning to open my gifts. They were swell. Thanks a million.
We have a show here every other day and then we have several deck games.
I am on duty every other day but it is light and I have very little to do. Mostly just chase K.P.s
I am writing quite a few letters back to the states. I sure hope they all get back there.
We have a complete black out here last nite except to some of the inside rooms. It last from sundown till sunup. The days are longer down here than they were up there thank goodness.
I am having the hardest time tonite writing this letter. Last nite I wrote 3 and the nite before I wrote 4.
Well I have said about all I can for now. As for where I’ll end up that is still unknown. But war is war no matter where it is at. Take care of yourselves and I’ll do the same. We’ll be seeing you in a couple of years.
I’ll write when we get to our permanent destination. My address is still the same as was on the card. Must close for now.
Lots of Love, Johnny,
s/sgt. John M. Rex (6581412) Air Corps. C/o Postmaster “Plum” San Francisco.
The envelope on this letter was postmarked Wellington, N.Z., 11 a.m. 7 Jan 1942

Note: The letters I've posted here written by John Morgan Rex, and his mother Bessie, frequently use Xmas for Christmas. I liked the explanations and clarification of the use of Xmas written on these Mormon History blogs here and  here.

John Morgan Rex’s involvement in World War II: