When we completed our last article Slade West was involved in the WWII invasion of Europe. After completing his mission as second mate he came back to the states with a large convoy. After sometime back in Marianna he sailed in another convoy from New York, November 4, 1944. By November 21 they were near Belfast, Ireland. They sailed south and came around Lands End. (the southwest end of England) On November 30, 1944 they anchored at Portsmouth. After sailing across the south end of England they headed North in the English Channel and then by December 14, 1944 they anchored in the Schelde River in heavy fog. They got into a berth at Antwerp by 7:00 PM on the 15th. He saw several V-2 rockets and there was lots of bombing. This shows how far the invasion had advanced since last June 6. He mentions they started loading sand ballast on December 28 and while this was being done he walked on the shore and gave candy and gum to children. The convoy of about 50 ships left Antwerp on December 29, 1944.
He left New York again on February 6, 1945. They sailed across the Atlantic and passed by the south end of England again and back to Antwerp where they had the same berth as before. They departed from there on March 6, 1945. The convoy arrived in Boston March 25, 1945. He visited lots of friends in that area and left for home April 2, 1945. He soon got involved in his old pattern of life, visiting with friends and covering the area from St. Joe to Valparaiso.
In the previous article, I omitted some of the fine print from his diaries. He was a great reader. He always took a lot of books with him on the ship and read some everyday if the war activities did not prohibit him. He told of washing clothes and cleaning his room. He spent a lot of time navigating and locating the ships position by using a sextant. He told how the weather was on every day.
He was the last of his family to live in this house. Following are pictures of the antique furnishings of one of the bedrooms.
He was on every continent including Antarctica and he bought souvenirs everywhere he went. I know he was in London while he was in his twenties and the last trip I know of his taking was to Tibet. I think it was in the 1980's. Here is a picture of some of those souvenirs and a part of his library. Most of the books are about WWII.
You may wonder why this house is being preserved. I believe the Ely-Crigler House is the oldest in Marianna and this one is probably next in age. They are historically significant. This was the home of one of the surgeons in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. There are many dedicated students of the War Between the States who would go along distance to see this structure but they most likely will never do so because this information will never be published outside Jackson County.
Group Tours of the home may be arranged by calling 482-5276.