On 3rd February 1941 Gordon joined RMS Nova Scotia, a troopship converted from a Royal Mail ship used to carrying passengers and light cargo normally between Liverpool and Canada.

He was given a small cabin to share with another army gunner and two navy gunners. Although cramped, it was luxury compared with the accommodation shared by 1200 troops who swung hammocks in the holds. The sea was fairly rough at the outset and many of the troops were sick with the decks being in an awful state. Fortunately Gordon didn’t suffer from seasickness.


They joined a convoy of about 30 ships which included 7 troopships and, accompanied by a battleship - possibly the Rodney - two cruisers and an aircraft carrier they headed out into the Atlantic Ocean and sailed south. They arrived at Freetown, Sierra Leone on 2nd March1941 and were able to sample some wonderful fresh fruit brought from boats manned by the natives who were all addressed as “Sambo”. One of the other troopships had broken down and army officers were transferred to the Nova Scotia. This meant Gordon giving up his cabin for seniors and he was obliged to sling a hammock near the guns. Fine in fair weather but rain storms at night made matters difficult. On the 12th March, they crossed the Equator and Gordon joined in the celebration, being covered in shaving foam and dunked in the makeshift pool but he was given permission to marry a mermaid!

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On the 22nd March, they sailed in calm seas to CapeTown and were impressed by the really beautiful and impressive Table Mountain.
The inhabitants of Cape Town showed wonderful hospitality and Gordon, Lance Corporal Charles Harris (from Margate?) and Norman Green, a junior ship’s officer were treated to a slap-up meal by an English settler and his Africaans wife.