Across the pond with Rex Wailes: Crossing the Atlantic

October 01st 2019 by Nathanael Hodge

Part 3 of a weekly series of blogs about Rex Wailes' 1929 trip to the USA and Canada.
Poster Image

Canadian Pacific line


Monday 29.4.29. 10.p.m. (ships time)

Our clocks have been put back an hour hence the parenthesis above.

A game of deck shuffleboard. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Bundesarchiv, Bild 135-KB-14-049 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Was very sick this morning while shaving so took bromide and retired to bed until midday. Couldn't keep my lunch down, but was out all the rest of the day except from 4 to 5.30, either walking or playing shuffle board - which is like a glorified shove ha'penny, played with rounds of wood about nine inch square x 5/8” thick, and push sticks about 4ft x 6” long. There are two sets of figures chalked out on the deck some 10 yards apart. The object is to push the wooden rounds with a push from the pushers into the squares containing these figures. It can be played by two or four players, each side having four rounds each.

It became much calmer during the afternoon and we really mustn't complain. The boat rolls and the engines vibrate her horribly but I have managed to eat, enjoy and keep down a hearty tea, dinner and biscuit and cheese supper, so if the weather stays as at present I hope I've got my sea- stomach - "sea-legs" is the polite phrase for this interesting state of affairs. Vibration is very bad and its difficult to write.

Had a telegram from Norma this afternoon wishing me "Bon voyage and Good Luck". It was handed in at Bridge of Allan at 10.55 on Saturday, so why I didn't get it before is a mystery.


Tuesday 30.4.29. 10.40. p.m. (corrected time)

I'm even forgetting the date and day of the week.

Two outstanding events to-day

(1) Deck tennis: Has broken 6 finger nails for me; they gave us a rope quoit to play with and that did it, they have no rubber one. The games are badly organized. The deck steward grumbles and says that it is someone elses job.

A game of deck tennis - played with a rubber ring or quoit which is thrown over a net.

(2) Stormy weather: Has made me feel squeemish and has upset all but a very few, though it doesn't look very rough. Its the rolling, vibration and stuffy atmosphere inside that do the trick. Outside (out of the wind) I feel fine. Have been all right up to now but can't trust myself to it and write so am "dossing up" now.

Tourist third cabin, Canadian Pacific Line - from plan of ship in Rex Wailes Collection

Thursday 2.4.29. 10.45.p.m. (corrected time)

Finished the Forsyte Saga last night and was too tired to write. All yesterday was a beastly day. Mostly fog and very cold. Played deck tennis all the morning, read all the afternoon and in the evening they had games. The "games" were deadly and included forfeits, and a mock trial. Nothing went with a swing.There is a large preponderance of elderly and middle aged females, Yank, Scotch & Irish. All very comic to observe, and no doubt they are equally amused and interested at me.

Tourist third lounge, Canadian Pacific Line

To-day I played deck tennis again in the morning and in the afternoon wrote up some of my Anglesy notes. I use the saloon a good deal as its cooler than the other rooms, but the steward doesn't like me because I'm not drinking. He was saucy this morning over a towel for the lavatory and got told off. The deck steward is a dud, says its not his job to arrange games and does everything very grudgingly to all. My table steward is a saucy lot too, but he amuses me - I think he is an Irish American. Its been windy all to-day and by no means calm, but I keep all right. Its dreadful the way we live for meals, however, I seem none the worse for mine - in fact very much the reverse.


Our Information Manager, Elizabeth Trout, has identified the ship Rex Wailes was travelling on from passenger lists. It was the SS Albertic.

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