Sun., Jan. 17, 1943
Yesterday I was evacuated from the 109th Field Hospital on Guadalcanal in the Solomons. I am now on a hospital ship in the harbor. We have been unloading since yesterday. They say I have spostic defunction abdominal pain and cramps. Also my tonsils are giving me trouble again. There will be around 500 patients aboard. Some are pretty badly wounded and needing operations. Some have Malaria, etc. Just heard that this Hosp. ship is the U.S.S. McCawley.
They have been playing some of Bing's records. A few that I have at home. It brings me back to the good ole days.
They are unloading closed trucks (van's) and these cranes handle them as if they were cotton or something.
This afternoon we pulled away from the harbor and away from Guadalcanal. It was a wonderful feeling to see that hell-hole fade in the distance. I did hate to leave behind "Gig", Johnson and the fellows. Maybe I'll see them again and maybe I won't. I hear we're going back to Caledonia. Also heard that the 43rd Division came in (the one that is supposed to relieve the Americal). I feel alot better just getting away from that place.
We have only one destroyer with us that I can see. Sure hope that there's not a retribution on this one (as the one of the Alchiba). I am now sitting on my mattress, which is over one of the hatches. They claim there are between 600 and 700 patients on board.
A Higgins boat just fell off and we have now stopped because they are going to sink it with the 5 inch guns. Have just heard that there are 523 patients on board.
This is Harry's War Diary. The January 17th post is one of the longest journal entries so far in the little diary. Harry has finally left Guadalcanal after 64 days, and it's possible he'll return to Caledonia where his ordinance crew was stationed since March 1942.
Harry is saying goodbye to his fellows with a heavy heart. Leaving Guadalcanal, however, is something he's been looking forward to for a very long time. He immediately thinks of the Alchiba and how it was sunk when he was aboard it only a few months prior. But being aboard a vessel has it's perks: listening to Bing Crosby, having a clock and calendar, and of course the rumor mill.
Return to Edge ofthe Wildwood tomorrow for another article from HWD and read Harry's description of a burial at sea.