A GOOGLE translation from Turkish with corrections by Cem Ozmeral
To read the story in Turkish
1942 DE EN UZUN YOLCULUK
Babam Hamza Özmeral’in 1942 yılının Aralık ayının ilk günlerinde Adana’da başlayan ve yaklaşık üç ay sonra Amerika’nın Masachusetts Eyaleti nin Boston şehrinde nihayetlenen uzun seyahatinin hikayesini Özlediğim İstanbul kitabının bir bölümünde aşağıdaki şekilde özetlemiştim.
Babam Heybeliada Deniz Lisesini bitirdikten sonra 1937 yılında Almanyanın Bremen kentine gitmiş. Burada tersanelerde “gemi inşa” ile ilgili staj yapmış ve sonra Berlin de Humbolt Üniversitesinde Yüksek öğrenime başlamış. Bu sırada 1939 yılında İkinci Dünya Savaşı çıkıyor. Savaş çıkınca İnönü hükümeti Almanya’daki öğrencileri Türkiye ye geri çağırıp iki yıllığına Robert Koleje yolluyor. Burada babam hem İngilizcesini ilerletiyor, hem de mühendislik öğretimine devam ediyor. Mezuniyetten sonra da hükümet bu öğrencileri Boston’daki M.I.T. Üniversitesine Master yapmaya yolluyor. Babamın anlattığına göre onun Amerika macerası da bu şekilde başlıyor.
İkinci dünya savaşının o en kızgın günlerinde Alman denizaltıları Atlantik’in kuzey kısmında oldukça yoğun bir şekilde asker sivil ayırt etmeksizin bütün gemilere saldırıyorlar. Bu nedenle askeri öğrencilerin Amerika’ya yolculuk rotası Afrikanın batısından Güney Atlantik üzerinden seçiliyor. Yolculuk 1942’ nin soğuk bir Kasım günü Ankara’dan Adana’ya oradan da trenle Musul’ a doğru başlıyor. O zamanlar henüz İsrail Devleti yok. Otobüsle yola devam eden teğmenler, önce Lübnan ve Filistin üzerinden Kahire’ye varıyorlar. Kahire de piramitler geziliyor, develerle resimler çektiriliyor. Bulaşıcı hastalıklar nedeniyle bütün aşılar yaptırılıp yirmi gün burada konaklanıyor. Sonunda Amerikan askeri uçakları ile Hartum’a doğru hareket ediliyor. Hartum’da bir gece kalındıktan sonra, Kongo ormanlarına, oradan da Altın Sahillerine varılıyor. Buradan da okyanus ötesine ve Amerika kıtasına çok uzun sürecek yorucu bir yolculuk başlıyor.
Altın Sahillerinde, Akra şehrinden kalkan uçaklar Amerikan nakliye uçakları. Oturulacak yerler madeni ve son derece rahatsız. Uçak deniz seviyesinden dört yüz, beş yüz metre yükseklikte uçuyor. Bazı öğrenciler diploma törenlerinde olduğu gibi şevke gelip şapkalarını Atlantik’e atıyorlar. Sonunda çok uzun süren bir yolculuktan sonra Brezilyanın en doğu noktası olan Natal’a varılıyor. Natal da iki gün kalındıktan sonra bu defa Brezilya ormanlarındaki bir askeri üsse doğru yola çıkılıyor. Burası tam bir cehennemdir, sivri sinekler, kertenkeleler, böcekler ve vahşi hayvanlar. Cibinlikler içinde geçirilen korkulu ve uykusuz bir geceden sonra ertesi gün Tirinidad adalarına doğru yola çıkılıyor. Buraya varılınca da herkes derin bir oh çekiyor, çünkü bir önceki durakla kıyaslanınca burası adeta bir cennettir. Trinidad’da bir gün dinlenildikten sonra gene askeri uçakla Miami’ ye hareket ediliyor. Yolculuk en sonunda Boston’da noktalandığında aylardan Şubat ve yıllardan 1943 dir. Ankara’da başlayan yolculuk üç ay sürmüştür. Benim bu tarihten beş yıl sonra başlayan hayatımın Amerika kıtasına kaymasında , belki de bu yolculuğun etkisi vardır.
Cem Özmeral 14 Mart 2002 Columbus, Ohio
THE LONGEST JOURNEY IN 1942
My Father, a Naval Cadet in the Turkish Army was studying Naval Engineering at the Humbolt University in Berlin and was doing his internship during the summer in the shipyards of Bremen when theWorld War II broke in 1939. The Turkish Government called him back and placed him at the Robert’s College in Istanbul where he was first to learn English and then complete his B.S. degree.
The following is a direct quote from my brother Mustafa Ozmeral’s Biography about our Father , explaining the long trip he had to make after graduating in 1942 and winning a scholar ship for a Master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston:
My father studied at Robert College in Istanbul from 1939 through 1942. RobertCollege is a very historic institution, being the oldest American school established abroad(founded in 1863).
In 1942, he won a naval scholarship to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (the world’s premier engineering school) and set out for the United States. He has told me of his long trip from Istanbul to Boston while World War II was in full steam, which is a fascinating story. First, they set out by train from Istanbul to Mosul (in today’s northern Iraq). From Mosul, they went by bus to Palestine (this wasbefore the state of Israel was created in the British territory of Palestine containingtoday’s Israel, Jordan and the West Bank). From Palestine by bus, they continued on toCairo, Egypt. From there by air transport again to Accra, which is the capital of Ghanain Western Africa. From Accra, they flew to Natal in northern Brazil, crossing theSouthern Atlantic (they had to avoid the Northern Atlantic because it was completelycontrolled by German U-boats, which sunk all non-friendly commercial transports). Myfather mentioned to me that their aircraft flew across the Atlantic at an altitude of about1500 ft, and that their windows were open, and the cabin was not pressurized. In fact,one of his friends threw his hat out the window to the Atlantic as a “souvenir”! Theycrossed the Atlantic in this manner in about 12 hours during the day. From Natal-Brazil, they crossed the Amazon jungle to arrive at the port of Belem.They continued from Belem-Brazil to the British Guyana, from there to the island of Trinidad and Tobago. And from Trinidad and Tobago, they flew to Miami, finally arriving in the United States after several weeks of travel.
LIFE AND TIMES OF MY FATHER
A Life of Twentieth Century
Our train journey, which started from Ankara, stopped once again at Yenice Station, close to Adana, after eighteen hours. We got off the train with the three lieutenant friends we traveled with and walked towards the station. We were all in civilian clothes, and we crossed the rails to the station building. There were soldiers all over the station, they cordoned off the area next to the building, we had to change our way and went out to Istasyon street, we started looking for something to eat. After a half-hour break, we took the train again and set off for Adana and arrived at Adana station after about two hours. We took a phaeton in front of the station and set out for our hotel on Abidin Pasha street .A talkative carriage driver explained to us the reason why the soldiers were at Yenice station. Ismet Pasha had come, he was talking with the British Prime Minister Churchill for two days in a carriage. They're probably trying to get us into the war, I hope Inönü doesn't accept it.
In the late evening a major from the Marine Corps came to the hotel and gave us a brief briefing. Information about travel, how to behave on the road, paying attention to what we eat and drink, etc. We will have a long journey from Adana to Boston, Massachusetts USA. German planes and submarines roam the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, our journey will be manifested as Syria, Palestine, Egypt, the Gold Coast and from there to Brazil and then to Miami in the south of the USA. This is called showing your ear from behind. After the Major wished us a good trip, he also gave us our salary in an envelope. Hundred dollars per man. I have ninety liras of Turkish money with me, it will probably be enough until Cairo. There, in the Turkish Embassy we are supposed to get our next month's salary.
We went for a walk in the city in the evening. We walked around Ulus Park on Ziya Pasha Boulevard. Even though it's November, the weather was still nice. Along the way, from time to time, we came across caravans consisting of four camels as well as cars. We ate dinner at a restaurant. I am not very fond of spicy dishes and ate Adana kebab with some hesitation. They served a lot of greens next to the kebab and we drank şıra. This kebab restaurant was the most famous kebab restaurant in Adana.
There was a Bluepunkt brand radio right next to the cash register, everyone was listening to the German State radio and the BBC on short wave. We heard that the German army was marching towards Stalingrad. We drank a lot of cider called şıra. I liked this soft drink that I drank for the first time, it has a sour taste. The restaurant owner was an older man. He was very interested in us when he heard that we were naval lieutenants, he sat at our table and we chatted. The shop was left to him by his father. Every morning he goes to the market ,does his daily shopping and buys şıra from Adana's famous şıra dealer. According to what the şıra dealer had told him, they gave a lunch reception to Inonu and Churchill in a carriage at the train station in Yenice yesterday. Churchill fell in love with this wine tasting şıra; he drank several glasses of it. He asked how şıra was made. The şıra guy would not give the full secret of the job because had sworn to his father not to tell anyone. Churchill insisted, even the British ambassador asked for the recipe, but the guy did not give in. Finally, Ismet Pasha said, “Once we Turks have made a promise, we won't go back on our word”, and brought the matter back once again to Turkey-England relations.
After one more night staying overnight in Adana, the six lieutenants together with three friends who had joined us via Izmir, took the train to Mosul.
December 3, 1942
CHURCHILL AND INONU ,DEC 1,1942
ADANA CENTRAL TRAIN STATION
VARDA BRIDGE ON BAGDAT RAILDOAD
THE CLOCK TOWER, ALEPPO 1942
MINARETE OF UMAYYED MOSQUE ON RIGHT.
VIEW FROM THE CITADEL
We set off from Adana this evening, the first part of our journey will be by train from Aleppo to Mosul. The train continues from here to Baghdad, but our route will be from Mosul to Beirut by bus.
In Adana, we filled most of our suitcases with food: Turkish meat sausage " sucuk", kasseri cheese, olives, bread, canned sardines, grapes, etc. It is not clear what we will encounter on the way and what we will find to eat. But after getting on the train, we happily saw that one of the wagons was a dining car. Before the foundation of the Turkish Republic, this wagon was reserved for women as a harem wagon. Then they removed the compartments and put sofas and tables. There are antique stained glass with beautiful floral pictures in the wagon. We had breakfast from the food we brought in the morning in our compartment. But in the evening we ate in the restaurant ; hot tarhana soup, rice with chicken and grape compote. Tasted great.
Looking out the window and thinking about my mother and siblings I left in Istanbul. Mustafa, one of my big brothers, had constant pain in his neck and I could not help worrying about him. Will the divorce case I filed to end my marriage with Mualla, which gave me nothing but suffering for two years, be concluded at the hearing next month? I wonder what our relationship with Semine, whom I befriended after I broke up with Mualla, will be in the future. Holding my hands as we left on our last meeting on the hill of Çamlıca, the sadness that she could not hide in her black eyes and the fact that we said goodbye to each other with her beautiful smile... they all are passing before my eyes one by one.
Our first day was always through tunnels in the mountains. On the way to Adana, we passed through the Gülek strait and the beautiful Taurus Mountains, and now we are watching in the Gavur mountains. On the huge Varda Bridge built by the Germans, the sounds of the wagon on the tracks seemed to increase more and more. One is afraid to look down at the abyss. In the afternoon we went to the restaurant on the train. We drank Tekel beer and chatted and munched on a lot of Damascus nuts. When the night finally arrived, we opened our bunk beds. I went to sleep immediately in the middle section. Towards noon the next day, the villages around Aleppo appeared in the window.
We have a twelve-hour break in Aleppo. At ten a.m. we went on a tour of the city, and at eight at the latest we were asked to be on the train. The city is huge and rich, but one feels the Arabian spirit. Jews fleeing the massacre in Spain settled here centuries ago during the Ottoman period. In most of the shops we went to in the city we met Jewish shopkeepers who spoke broken Turkish.
Right in the middle of the city there is an enormous hill, the upper part of which is flat, resembling an anthill or the cover of a pot. There is a thirteenth-century castle on the hill. We climbed to the top bastions of the castle and watched the city for a while from there.
Below is a scenery of orderly dirt -colored two-story buildings. But as you go out of the city, there is a complete shabbiness. Arabs in long black dresses crouched on the floor in dirt streets, camels passing by on the streets, water cabinets turned by two oxen at the wellheads.
At the intersection of the streets in the center of the city there is a beautiful clock tower left over from the Ottomans. We took pictures with the locals in front of the clock tower and later visited the Umayyad Mosque, one of the historical monuments of the city. We sat and rested in its courtyard for a while. In the evening we returned to our train with some food such as tulum cheese, pita, dates which we had bought from a Jew's shop.
In Aleppo, our wagon remained the same, but the locomotive of the train had changed. A very modern and powerful locomotive, British made PC class. The Iraqi government ordered four of these, but when the war broke out, the Germans prevented their transportation. One year ago, the British brought the locomotives to Baghdad after they occupied Iraq and brought Prince Abdullah to power. The name of our locomotive is Mosul. Two sleeping wagons were added to the train; these wagons travel empty until Mosul. In Mosul there were reservations, from there they would travel full to Baghdad. We offered some money to the Arab conductor, to take us to the sleeping cars. First, he hesitated, but then he told us to wait for the passport control.
At 7:30 PM a French officer and a Syrian customs officer toured the wagons one by one and did passport control. After the passport controls the train departed towards Mosul. We gave the conductor five Turkish Liras per person and he arranged two compartments for us. He didn't give any bed sheets since the sheets were numbered. Each compartment had two beds, one big and the other one small, and a cabin with a shower. Six friends shared two cabins. Since the water was limited, we took a shower very quickly, and then we met in one of the cabins. We opened the Arak raki we bought from Aleppo, and set up a so-called locksmith's table(starter table with appetizers) with cucumbers, cheese and watermelon on it.
At about six AM in the morning, the conductor knocked on the door of the sleeping car and woke us all up and asked us to go back to our compartment. At about seven o'clock AM the train stopped at a station called Telköcek on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Here, Iraqi customs officers, together with British officers, checked our passports by walking around the wagons and after stamping the train set off for Mosul again. When we saw the multitude of oil rigs along the railway, we inevitably regretted that as Türkiye we could not keep this region within our boundaries.
On the western shore of the Tigris river towards the desert, first the remains of a couple of ancient monasteries and then the villages appeared. By looking at the clothes of the girls gathered at the fountain, we guessed that most of them were Turkmen villages and some were Kurdish villages. As the train approached the city, two-three-storey earth-coloured structures, mosque minarets and Arabs with long gowns multiplied. The train gradually slowed down, little Arab children in striped gowns like pajamas were running barefoot next to the train. We arrived at Mosul Train Station exactly at noon.
The train station in Mosul was a complete chaos. Bagel and sherbet makers suddenly surrounded us, there were even those with small barbecue grills serving hot tea. We immediately hired two porters, handed the suitcases to them, and crossed to the street side of the station. Our bus to Beirut was leaving at exactly 2:00PM, so we hastily rushed into a taxi one after the other. Our car was a 1940 Chevrolet, a taxi operated by the Niarn Bus company that will take us all the way to Haifa. We set off with the taxi towards the bus stop in the center of the city, with the big luggages in the trunk of the car and the small ones on our laps.
The main street was quite wide. Shops can be seen under the two-story buildings on both sides of the road.There were chairs and tables on the flat-roofed terraces on the upper floors of the buildings. All kinds of vehicles were passing through the street; horse carriages, two-story trams pulled by two horses, few cars, pedestrians and countless rowboats on the Tigris river, rafts carrying animals across. Finally, we crossed the long bridge over the Tigris river and reached the eastern side of the city. Here we passed through the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh and arrived at the square where the buses of Nairn would depart for Beirut.
On The Bus
NAIRN BUS BAGGAGE CLAIM TICKET
The bus departed at exactly two o'clock. Such punctuality is amazing, but it turns out that the Nairin company is run by two brothers from New Zealand. They came here during the years of the First World War, and after the war, they opened a car dealership and started to sell American cars. But when things didn't go as they had hoped, they started to run the cars they brought as taxis between Beirut, Haifa and Palestine. When this worked, they started to transport both passengers and mail from Haifa to Beirut and then to Damascus and Baghdad by bus. This can be seen from the logo on the bus which reads: Nairin Road Postal Service. The Marmon Harrington branded bus wagon is pulled by a truck with a power of one hundred and fifty horsepower. The bus is extremely comfortable; seats with high backrests, ventilation and heating system for summer and winter, toilet, food service in takeaway, innovations that we have not seen in buses so far. Next to the toilet, on the 21 meters long bus, there is a small kiosk where things like cigarettes, chewing gum, newspapers, and soft drinks are sold. Right in front of the kiosk there is a covered rubber bed reserved for one of the two drivers of the bus to sleep.
The seats of the bus were numbered, and our seats were in the back. Next to me, by the window, my friend Galip was sitting, and on the couch next to the hallway was an Arab student of our age studying at the University of Beirut. Our other four friends are right behind us. The seats in the front were reserved for women, a kind of harem structure.The Arab student named Jamal said he used to make this journey at least two or three times a year. His mother, father and siblings lived in Mosul, where his father was engaged in the towel trade. While we were talking about this, the backup driver distributed our rations. Curled pita bread, which included green peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives and three dates on the side. They poured water from a jug as a drink, but I bought bottled water from the kiosk because I did not trust the tap water. When lunch was over, the assistant served tea, everyone lit their cigarettes, and the driver had to turn on the ventilation because of the heavy smoke.
Galip, sitting next to me, was reading the Times he had bought from the kiosk. The newspaper was delivered to Mosul three times a week. He handed me part of the newspaper. I looked at the news in the newspaper dated December 7, 1942. This is the first time Japanese planes have bombed Calcutta. The Germans increased their attack on Stalingrad, and Russian tank and artillery units were defending the city against the Germans. In the meantime, Hitler issued a written instruction for the use of the V-2 rocket as a weapon. The number of submarines sunk in December alone exceeded sixty. Gasoline in America and potatoes in the Netherlands are rationed. Let's see what the result of this war will be, and hopefully we can reach the American continent without an accident.
While I was reading the newspaper, a young Arab man who was sitting behind us started shouting at the student next to us. I didn't understand what was happening, but I got in between them and prevented the incident from escalating. The assistant driver also came, calmed both sides down, and later told me about the incident. The sister of the young man was sitting next to a lady right in front of us. Our Beirut youth was constantly looking at this young girl, and while he was looking at her, the brother of the girl in the back was checking him. Finally, he couldn't stand it: "What are you looking at my sister for?" The driver talked to the lady sitting by the window and she changed seats with the young girl. In other words, the girl came out of the guy's sight. Few minutes later, they distributed blankets to everyone, and the lights were turned off, and after a little struggle, I went to sleep.
Dec 10, 1942
OTTOMON CLOCK TOWER,1942
BEIRUT OUTSKIRTS 1942
Beirut Pictures H.Özmeral Archives.
We woke up in the morning with the sun penetrating into the bus through the gaps in the curtains. The assistant driver brought the tea he made in the spirit stove in the back and served pita with cheese. I was looking out the window, palm trees on the side of the road started to grow, then suddenly that deep blue archipelago of the Mediterranean was visible from behind the hills. Mountains on one side, seashore on the other, Arab women herding their camels on the road. Most of the houses on the outskirts of the city are made of concrete and brick, but they have a secluded appearance. The bus stopped at Martyrs Square, the center of the city. We will be here until three o'clock, we divided into groups of three and immediately started to tour the city.
Martyrs Square is right in the middle of the city, surrounded on both sides by four- and five-story neo-classical buildings like the houses in Beyoğlu. In the middle of it, there is a park with lush green grass, covered with palm trees. The boulevard around the rectangular shaped park is very wide, two cars and a tram can pass side by side. Trams are military green like our Kıskılı tram in Istanbul, with two wagons. I have never seen so many taxis even in Istanbul, they are all big black Fords. At the base of the rectangular square, there is a building reminiscent of our old War Office. Under the Arabic inscription on it, it says Palace de Canon. While passing by the building, we witnessed a ceremony held here.A French Pasha was addressing the public from the podium. Then a battalion of French and Lebanese soldiers, who came out of the courtyard of the building, made a short parade and hoisted the Lebanese and French flags to the building. There were people who spoke Turkish among the people, they told us with broken Turkish that Lebanon was accepting the French mandate. Lebanese call their soldiers Sipahi.
After watching the ceremony, we wandered around the square; Most of the buildings are used as hotels, shops and cinemas. Then we negotiated with a carriage driver to give us a two-hour tour. When he entered the side streets from the Martyrs' Square, the orderly scene disappeared in an instant, narrow streets towards the hills were replaced by brick houses that were not even plastered. The carriage driver took us to the port of the city first. This is a very lively place with huge silos and docks. Workers were loading goods from ships that are anchored far from the shore in the open sea to small boats and taking them to the docks on the shore by barges. A three-vented passenger freighter was anchored slightly off the port. While this freighter, with Marietta Pacha written on it, was used to carry passengers before the war in the Mediterranean, it was obviously now used for military transport under the French Flag.
In a small square where the port opens to side streets, there are several fish restaurants overlooking the sea. We sat in one of them and treated ourselves to pan fried shrimp, accompanied by a glass of Arak raki. Then the carriage driver took us from here to the second largest square of Beirut called Nejmeh Square. Unlike the Martyrs' Square, this round shaped square resembles Taksim square in Istanbul. There is a big clock tower right in the middle of it. We took pictures under the clock tower with some locals who told us that this tower was built by the Ottomans in ancient times. The large, rounded building on the square belongs to the Lebanese Postal Telephone service. I sent a postcard to my mother and siblings in Istanbul from the post office downstairs. On the second floor, there are the offices of the telephone company, from there you can call anywhere in the world with the assistance of the telephone operators. Unfortunately neither I, nor my friends have a phone in their houses in Istanbul. After watching the French soldiers calling their homes for a while, we went downstairs and told the coachman to take us back to where he picked us up. Our bus to Damascus would leave at three P.M., and Nairn would not come to be late for the bus.
As in other cities, most of the passengers had gotten off in Beirut and were replaced by new ones. Since many female passengers got on the bus here, a new seating arrangement was made with our permission. At the front, I'm sitting next to a twenty-five-year-old Arab who just got on the bus. The man had broken English, and I tried to speak with him mostly using Arabic words in Turkish. His father owned a vineyard in Syria, he loaded the wine they made into a truck several times a year and brought it to Beirut and sold it to the restaurants there. I didn't like the man, he was always checking his clothes with his hand and always turning his head and looking back.
It takes a 5to6 hour drive from Beirut to Damascus. Two hours before we arrived at Damascus, the bus stopped for passport control at a place called Şamat. We got off the bus and got outside, there were two yellow, dirt colored buildings. The first was the headquarters of the camel cavalry, downed camels next to each other side by side in the open air barn in the back of the building. The second building is the one where the passport control officers are stationed. We, the six friends, gathered together and got in line with the other bus passengers. The Arab, who was sitting next to me, positioned right behind us. The Bedouin Passport officer sitting behind a wooden box office asked all of us the same question: “where are you going to, what's in your suitcases”. We Turkish guys passed easily, but some of the male passengers were searched by a wall right there. Passport officers became suspicious of the passenger who was sitting next to me in the bus, and told him to take off his clothes. Here is what came under the man’s clothes : three silk shirts, two sweaters, two vests, two pants, three pearl necklaces and four wrist watches. A soldier with a sword in his waist and a rifle on his back took the young man and took him to the other building next door. We each took a cup of tea from the shabby tea room in the garden of the passport building and sat on the chairs and waited for what would happen. Our bus drivers opened the luggage compartment at the back of the bus and took the suitcases out. Later, the passengers opened their suitcases one by one, passed the control and took their places on the bus. They did not even look at our suitcases except for one and said “ Eyvallah” (Goodbye, thank you) and made a pass gesture.
They probably arrested the young Arab, he was not there when the bus took off, who knows what happened?
As dawn approached, the dust road ended, and an asphalt road started. The structure of the land around us also changed, and dirt-colored houses appeared inside fertile fields, vineyards and gardens. A little later, we passed through the city of Duma and entered the outer regions of Damascus. The donkeys and camels we saw by the roadside were replaced by bicycles, motorcycles, taxis and horse-drawn trams. Finally, as it was getting dark, our bus passed through Seven Springs Street and arrived at the bus garage, on an empty lot.
OMMAYED MOSQUE, DAMASCUS
OMMAYED MOSQUE, DAMASCUS
THE NAIRIN BUS
Damascus pictures H. Özmeral Archives
After arriving in Damascus, carrying suitcases in our hands we went to the Alhambra hotel just behind the garage, which was recommended to us by the bus driver. This hotel was mostly an accommodation place used by foreign soldiers passing through here. The hotel had a main building and seven single buildings in a row in its garden. These were rooms with bunk beds for eight people and are much cheaper than double rooms. This suited our situation well since we were going to stay just a night anyway, so we booked one of these rooms . In the room there are four bunk beds, a table, a wardrobe without a door to hang clothes, a wood burning stove and two gas lamps. There is electricity in the main building, but it wasn’t connected to these rooms. There were shared toilets, in a separate building behind the buildings. Opposite the toilets, there were three cabins for showering. By giving a few liras to the Arab waiting at the door we got some warm water, which he heated up and poured in the water reservoir in the shower cabin. You can shower as long as the water in the tank lasts. That's what we did, six guys took turns, cleaned up and then went to the restaurant and bar section in the main building.
After we ate, we sat at the bar, drinking and chatting until late in the evening. Everyone but I drank beer, an Australian brand, black pitch dark, served in liter bottles. Fermented drinks don’t suit me well, so I had a few glasses of “Arak”, but the taste was not even close to our Club raki back home. There were French, Australian and New Zealander soldiers in the bar besides us, we got along well with them. Their accents were very different, nothing at all like the American English we had learned at Robert College. Next to me an Australian sergeant named Victor was sitting. His father was of German descent and spoke German well. He told me the following story:
At the beginning of 1941, when France surrendered to Germany, Syria and Lebanon fell under the pro-German Vichy government of France. Of course, the British were very uncomfortable with this situation, they were afraid that the Germans would attack Egypt and seize the oil line in Iraq. In order to prevent this danger, the British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian soldiers and the French Liberation Troops opened a front in Northern Palestine inJune and invaded Syria and Lebanon. Meanwhile, Australian and British battleships anchored off the coast of Lebanon were also providing support from the sea.
This talk reminded me of our Dardanelles wars of Gallipoli and when I mentioned about how we blew off Anzacs back in Dardanelles, a smile appeared in his face with sadness in his eyes:
“My uncle fought against the Turks in Dardanelles, and even got injured in his stomach. He always told me how brave the Turks were and how good people they were, and how tens of thousands of people died in this war unnecessarily. But the situation was different on the Anzac front, which we opened against the German supporter Vichi. In this war, I was serving as a sergeant at the Press and Broadcasting Headquarters in Lebanon. The city of Damascus fell to our troops on the 21st of June, but the fighting continued in the coastal city of Damour and on the Cezine mountains. During these conflicts, a night raid was organized in the mountains of Cezine against the Vichy forces. My two closest friends, Ken and Christopher, also participated in this raid. But the next day, only one person from the raid team came back alive. That soldier told us that my friends had lost track of him, that he might have been wounded and taken prisoner by the French troops. The very next day, with the special permission I received from my unit, I went to the region to look for my friends. But I couldn't make any progress because of the snipers' fire. A few days later, the search troops, who had climbed into the mountains, returned with the six bodies. I did not have my friends among the dead. In July, Vichy's forces completely surrendered, and the administration of Syria passed to the Free French army. At the end of November 1941, the families of my friends were informed that they had died in the war. But their bodies were never found. They were my best friends, I do not believe they are dead and I will continue to search for them until the end. I will do whatever I can. That's why I'm here now, talking to the French soldiers and trying to gather information.
It was past two a.m. in the night, and if I had let it go, Victor would have continued. Most of my friends had already retired to the room, so I wished my Australian friend good luck and went to my room. Galip went to the top of the bunk bed, I lay on the bottom. I fell asleep immediately.
14 December 1942
HAIFA, HADAR HACARMEL
TELAVIV, ALLENBY ROAD BY MOYAL CIRCLE, 1942
HEBREW TECHNICUM, HAIFA
Haifa pictures H.Özmeral Archives.
It was eight o'clock in the morning when I got up. Most of my friends got up early and went out for a little walk around the city. I went to the restaurant for breakfast and soon all of them arrived. They had visited the El Musayed Mosque and kept talking and describing the splendor of this fourth holy temple of the Muslims. They know that I am a postcard enthusiast and they brought me some cards.
We will have a short train journey from Beirut to Haifa. We booked a big Chrysler from the taxis waiting in front of the hotel, loaded the suitcases in the trunk and told the driver to pull up to the Hejaz train station. After a two-hour train journey, we arrived in Haifa.
A Jewish Professor named Thomas greeted us at the station. Thomas was a childhood friend of Professor Moyal, our descriptive geometry teacher at Robert College. Moyal and Thomas escaped from Germany when the war started and came to Istanbul with the invitation of President İnönü. Moyal started teaching at Robert College, and his dear friend Thomas left Istanbul and took refuge in Palestine. Knowing that we were going to pass through Haifa, our teacher gave us Thomas's address and phone number at Technicum University, where he was a lecturer and some money to be given to him. We called him from Beirut the day before and informed him of the arrival time of our train. After Thomas checked us into the hotel, he said he would come and pick us up at lunchtime and show us around the city.
Haifa is a very beautiful city. Our guide, Professor Thomas, negotiated for a taxi in front of the hotel. The taxi looked like a matchbox, able to accommodate 8 people. Professor took two dollars from each of us and agreed with the driver to go around the city all day long. First, we went out to the Baha'i gardens which were under construction at the foot of Mount Carmel. One can climb to the top of the mountain on terraces step by step. Pine and palm trees were planted on both sides of the gardens, and flower gardens were built on the plains. There is such a beautiful view that you think you are in the gardens of Babylon. The smoky peaks of the Galilean mountains behind you, the azure waters of the Mediterranean below. White foamy waves were crashing on the shore without stopping. At the lowest point where the park starts, there was a stone building that does not resemble the buildings around here. I asked Thomas about this building and he told me its story.
In this building is the tomb of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Bahai religion, after whom the park is named. This religion, pioneered by Bahá'u'lláh, who lived in Iran in the nineteenth century, in fact, with a universal understanding, believes that all religions are one, Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad. He believed that Muhammad was commissioned by God at different times due to the changing social status of people, but in fact the purpose of all of them was one religion. Bahá'u'lláh is imprisoned by the Iranians, then he is exiled by the Ottomans, first to Edirne and finally to Akre in Palestine, after his death. He was buried at the foot of this hill, which was his wish he had told to his son in Haifa.
Another remarkable thing in the port below us was the black shipwreck near the shore. We asked Professor Thomas what kind of ship this was and when it sank. Here is what he told us:
It is a very sad story. As you know, the city of Haifa and its port are under the British mandate. There are currently 66 000 Jews living here. Most of them are in the Hadar Hacarmel region. You will soon see when we take a tour, most of the buildings are of German type, built by refugees who came here from Germany and Russia. But the British are determined not to let a single Jewish refugee into this city anymore. Two years ago, the Patria ship arrived in Haifa with 1800 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Of course, those on the ship did not have permission to enter the city. The intention of the British was to take the ship from here and send it to the island of Mauritius in the south of Africa.The Jewish organization Haganah, which operates underground in Palestine, tried to do its best to prevent the ship from leaving the port. But the British put almost one British soldier as a guard for every refugee on the ship. Following that, our Jewish organization placed a bomb on the ship. The purpose was to destroy the engine room of the ship and prevent it from sailing. But as a result of a wrong calculation, the explosion was bigger than expected and the ship started to sink with the passengers in it. Of course, rescue teams came from other ships in the port, but in the end 270 refugees died. We pray every day that war is a bad thing, and it never comes to our shores. We go once a month to the administration building to get our food ration cards. We will be happy if we can feed the children an egg once a week.
If we let Thomas go on with the story, he was going to continue.
I interrupted him and said:
“If you want, let's get out of here now and go to the Technicum University.”
, and we six friends walked down the stairs to the area where the taxi was waiting for us next to the Baha'i shrine.
Our desire to visit the Technicum University came from the fact that it was the first university in the Ottoman lands, outside of Istanbul, that provided education in sciences, engineering and architecture in 1912. The university building at the foot of Mount Carmel has a magnificent view. The building resembles Islamic architecture, but the windows give you the impression that you are seeing a building in Europe. According to what Thomas told us, this place was built on the example of Firuz Abad palace in Iran. You go up the stairs and enter the garden with palm trees from the arched entrance. Albert Einstein, who visited the university in 1923, planted the first palm tree in this garden. Professor Thomas spoke to the British guards at the gate, told them that we were going to MIT University in Boston. The officer who looked at our passports gave us a soldier as a guide and let us in. Climbing the marble stairs with wooden banisters, we toured the building, laboratories and classrooms for about an hour. Then we got in our taxi again and went down to the port.
In the afternoon we toured the Harbor and the city's biggest street, Allenby. The weather was like a spring day with the sun shining. Despite the hardships of the war, people were walking around the streets wearing straw hats and umbrellas in their hands. British soldiers in short trousers were passing by and were watching us carefully. The phaetons and palm trees gave me the impression that we were in Kordonboyu in Izmir. We sat together in a cafe and drank beer. At the next table, two girls with blue eyes, curly red hair and white skin were looking at us and smiling. I wish we had a little more time here, I thought, when Hayri went to the next table and started talking to the girls. Then he told us
“You leave me, I'll come to the hotel a little later on”.
After saying goodbye to Professor Thomas and promising to write to him from Boston, the five of us left for the hotel towards the evening.
Cairo Postcars H.Ozmeral Archives
From Haifa to Cairo, it will take an eighteen-hour train journey. The night before, I wasn't feeling well at the hotel in Haifa and slept seeing nightmares until the next morning. When we got up the next morning, I saw the doctor at the hotel. My fever was 38 C, apparently, I had caught a cold. The doctor gave me a shot, some medicine and told me to drink lots of water. In the morning, we took the Palestine Railways train to Cairo from Haifa train station. The train will pass through the Palestinian territories, through Jerusalem and Gaza, to the Egyptian borders, and from there, over the newly built El Ferdan bridge on the Nile river, crossing the Suez Canal to arrive in Cairo. The train left at noon, my head was like a boiling cauldron, I climbed to the top bunk in the train compartment. While my friends were sitting down there, I fell into a deep sleep. I woke up at midnight, this time our friends were sleeping and snoring. I got down from the top, came out of the compartment, asked the conductor for water and drank with my medication. I looked out the window, it was pitch dark, there was not even a single light, I had to go back to the compartment and lay on the bunk.
I woke up at six in the morning and saw my friends already up and talking down there. I got down and we decided to go to the dining wagon and have breakfast. I felt better this morning, my appetite had come back. I ate some toast, feta cheese, black olives and drank two glasses of tea. We all lit a cigarette with the tea when the newly built El Ferdan bridge near Ismailiyah appeared in the window. Two iron extension arms on both sides of the Nile River move, meet in the middle of the river, attach to each other to form a bridge. Twice a day, the extension arms of the bridge are returned to the shore and ships pass through the empty middle. The waiter who served us said that the train's crossing time was adjusted according to the schedule when the bridge was closed to ships. On the brown waters of the Nile below, cargo ships in both directions and barges carrying animals were anchored and waiting for the bridge to open. On both sides of the Nile there is no other sight but empty tawny hills.
As we were crossing the bridge on the train, we waved goodbye to the Arab bridge officers. Towards nine a.m. both sides of the Nile River began to turn green and palm trees began to appear. When we looked carefully, we realized that the streets we saw on our right were the islet of Guzireh, connected to the shore by a bridge. Horse-drawn carriages, cars, camels, Arabs in cloaks, officials in fez, British and Australian soldiers in safari hats were pacing behind or next to each other. Palm trees were three times the length of Izmir's Palms, white sailboats and small boats with children could be seen sailing on the Nile River. On neither side of the Nile there were no other sights but empty tawny hills. It was almost eleven o'clock when our train arrived at Cairo train station. After bargaining with the coachman, we rented two horse carriages and asked them to take us to the Semiramis hotel on the banks of the Nile.
December 18, 1942
After we started our journey from Adana, the war in Europe and Africa had escalated. Every morning in the hotel lobby, I am listening to the radio and reading the latest newspapers. Allied forces continue to have hard times in Europe. In Barbarossa the Germans had blasted the Russians back, in the Atlantic U-boats were making life hell for British ships. But in Africa the situation was different. Since the Germans dominated the situation at sea and in the air in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, the British moved weapons and ammunition to Egypt via Brazil with the help of the American pilots. The place where a battle took place called El Almaine is 150 km west of Cairo. Some civilian American pilots who were trained by the British were transporting weapons from West Palm Beach Florida to Trinidad, then to Brazil: first to Belem, then to Natal, from there to Accra in today's Ghana, from there to Kano in today's Nigeria, from there to Khartoum in Sudan and finally to El Almaine near Cairo. The American pilot named Gilbert, who told us all this in the bar of the Semiramis hotel, said that he had made four intercontinental trips in the summer of 1942 with the B-24 type transport aircraft named “Liberator”.
We made flights from hell in the jungles of Brazil, in the deserts of Africa, and during these flights we lost many airplanes and lost several friends. But all this was worth our efforts, the British pushed back the Germans and the Italians. Rommel did not listen to Hitler's orders and was forced to retreat to Libya. When the war of El Alameine, which lasted for two weeks, ended on the fifth of November, 25 000 of the enemy and 13 000 from the 8th Army of the Allied Powers had died.
After this war, Cairo lost its military importance and became the center of entertainment and debauchery of the allied forces. Be careful as long as you stay here, don't get sick from women, don't lose your money. Once you finish your paperwork here and are done with your stuff, you never know I might fly you to America, since in two weeks I'll be flying over Brazil to Florida.
What Gilbert had said that evening about the post-war period in Cairo, we were going to see ourselves in the next few days. One evening a British captain, whom we met in the hotel’s bar, invited us to the Turf Club in the British BTE Headquarters. The next night, Hayri and I got on a horse carriage and asked the coachman to take us to the British headquarters. William met us at the guardhouse at the time of our appointment and took us in a jeep to the Turf Club situated among the palm trees by the Nile River. At the door, two Arabs in fez and skullcap and long gowns greeted us with a low bow, at the inner door an English guard in short trousers checked our IDs and spoke to William and then let us in. We walked by puff pillows laid on the ground under the dim lights and stopped by a low tray shaped table set aside for us by the stage in between small cedar chairs. A little while later, a waiter in a long gown with a fez on his head and speaking very good English came and asked what we wanted to drink. Choices abounded: French wines, whiskey, arak, British and Australian beer. As is customary here, William ordered the first round, we started with beer, then Hayri and I ordered whiskey. On the stage, when one of the dancers was getting down, another was coming up. At the end of their show they were leaving the stage by opening their chests and covering them with their hands. William told us that these were Madam Bediya's dancers. After their dance was over, they sat at low tables in dark booths behind the stage and drank with customers. Of course you have to buy the dancer a drink, give a little tip and they allow you to quarrel a bit, provided you don't go too far. Of course our Hayri could not resist, he said, "Let me see what's up there" and disappeared. He came back half an hour later, a drink and a little hug cost him $10. Our guy was not satisfied, he wanted the night to continue. “Well, if you want, let's get out of here and I'll take you to the love gardens of Mr. Clot on the outskirts,” William said. With difficulty I persuaded Hayri to return to the hotel. In three days we have an appointment at Barrada's venereal disease office. In order to enter America, we have to get “clean paper” from here, have all the vaccines such as typhoid, typhus, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and be healthy.
” Do you want to get in trouble?” I said. Hayri is younger than me and calls me Abi (Big brother), so although not too happy, he decided to come back to the hotel.
December 22, 1942
PYRAMIDS OF GIZA AND THE SPHINX
BY THE GREAT PYRAMIDE GIZZE
HAMZA OZMERAL ON LEFT
OZMERAL AND FRIEND WITH A BEDOUIN
Cairo pictures H.Özmeral Archives.
This morning we left the hotel with the tour bus to see the pyramids. The bus, after traveling a few kilometers along the Nile River on the asphalt road in fertile lands turned into a dirt road into the desert. The driver while driving was giving us information about the pyramids. The pyramids were built inland far from the Nile river because the river overflows for four months every year and floods its surroundings. In the past, since the pharaohs were considered not only the king but also the god, they also decided people’s fate after they had died. When the Nile river overflowed, people voluntarily worked in the construction of the pyramids for four months in order to favor the pharaoh and guarantee their after life in the next world.The largest of the three pyramids of Giza, Khufu (Cheops),was built four thousand five hundred years ago to save the graves of the pharaoh himself , of his son and grandson and it took twenty-seven years to build. The other two were built for his wife and mother. There's an incredibly fascinating view of the pyramids from afar, but as you get closer, watching its grandeur one can not believe how people have built these monuments. Exactly 2.3 million stones were used for the Khufu pyramid and each stone weighs 2.5 tons.
The bus stopped at the dirt square in front of the sphinx. We went down together with the other tourists on the bus coming from the hotel. Our driver gave us information about camel riders who were also tourist guides. If we gave one dollar per person, they would guide for an hour, and for a second dollar they would allow a souvenir picture to be taken on a camel. “Don't give any more money than that , let's meet here in exactly 1.5 hours,” he said, and returned to the bus.
While the six friends were walking towards the Sphinx together, the helpers of the camel riders surrounded us, “Mr.'Mr., camel 3 dollars!”, they were trying to take us to their own camel. We walked towards the two camels that we had caught sight of without hesitation. One of the camel drivers was dressed in black, the other in white. The one in the white dress spoke very good English, after long negotiations we agreed on a total of 10 dollars, including walking around the pyramids and taking pictures of each of us individually on the camel. First, Ali Rıza and I sat on the humps of crouching camels, and we put on the red fez given by the camelmen. The camel man poked the camels with his stick and we posed on the camels that stood up. First Galip took our picture with the Besse camera I had bought in Germany, then Hayri and others got in line for photos.
As soon as the photo shots were done, the camel man with the black dress asked us for money. We told him, “First Giza, then money !” and walked towards the cobblestone road that led to the great pyramid behind the Sphinx. The height of the Khufu pyramid in the center was exactly one hundred and forty-five meters. The front door of the pyramid is quite high from the ground and because this door has been closed for centuries, people did not know that this door existed, another entrance door far below was opened. We entered the corridors through this second door. Here we walked holding on the ropes on our sides, up on a very narrow road, on wooden stairs on a bridge hanging in the air, to the heart of the pyramid. The large gallery was situated in an area inside the pyramid with a ceiling almost as high as the interior of Hagia Sophia. How and when was this gallery built?. It is impossible to think that it was built after the completion of the pyramid. Its ceiling carries millions of stones on it.
“I guess this place was built first, then the Pyramid was built around it.” said our white-robed Arab. From this gallery, one enters the room where Khufu's tomb is located. But his door was closed, and according to our host, there was no Khufu's mummy in the tomb anyway. None of us would openly admit it, but weary of the heat and the underground air, we descended the wooden piers again and were out of the door fifteen minutes later. Oh, the world has emerged, a gentle breeze is blowing outside. I don't want to be here even after I die.
We turned back, walking from the cobblestone road towards the side of the Sphinx. This Sphinx is also an enormous thing, seventy meters tall. The face is the face of a pharaoh, and the body is the body of a lion. Every morning, the pharaoh facing the east watches the sun rise and waits for his own resurrection. Between his two paws, they had built a temple where sacrifices were made for him in the past. After taking a few photos from this temple among the still standing columns, we paid the camel man and got on the bus that was waiting for us.
December 26, 1942
Sultan Hassan and Refai Mosques
THE CITADEL AND MEHMET ALI PASHA MOSQUE
El Azhare Street in 1942
Cairo Pictures and painting H.Özmeral Archives
This morning all six of us went to the Turkish Embassy on El Falakhy street. In the Embassy building, there are separate rooms for each: the Commercial and Military attachés. Turkey's Military Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Cevdet Bey, welcomed us in his room and offered us coffee. First, he presented us with our salaries and allowances of two hundred dollars 'n an envelope, then while we were browsing the newspapers Cumhuriyet and Ulus from Turkey, he presented the health report forms that we will need when we enter America. He arranged the forms and vaccine lists in English stating our names and told us to give them to the doctors before the examination. After a little chat, we said goodbye to him and went for a walk around the city.
First, we walked around El Azhara, one of the biggest streets of the city. The street was very crowded. Automobiles, horse carriages, hand-drawn cars by street vendors, cyclists, pedestrians were chaotically driving both on the right and on the left of the street. Almost all of the men were dressed in robes. They were wearing black robes or jackets over their robes, and they had fez and turbans on their heads. Women were dressed either in black chador or overcoat, there were no women without uncovered hair on the street. Street vendors of crisps that looked like bagels and the water sellers were all over the place trying to sell something.
From there we went to the Citadel of Cairo in the center of the city, which was in a position dominating the city, like the Ankara Castle. It was built by Selahattin Ayyubi in the twelfth century to protect the city from the Crusaders. Between 1830 and 1848, a mosque with two minarets was built at the top of the hill in memory of Tosun Pasha, the son of Egypt's Ottoman Governor Mehmet Ali Pasha. The Mehmet Ali Pasha mosque reminded me of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque with its minarets, looking unlike the Mamluk and Arab mosques in Cairo. After visiting this mosque, we walked down the dirt roads on the hill. Below on the outskirts of the city there were three long domed Mamluk mausoleums. Around these shrines, camels with their riders and their helpers with sticks in their hands were to be seen. Some camels were down sitting and their owners were napping sitting next to the tombs. We took the side road from here to Mehmet Ali Pasha square.
Mehmet Ali Pasha square houses two great mosques of the oldest Mamluk architecture. Sultan Hassan Mosque was built in the 14th century. The Al Refai mosque, which is right next to the other, seems to complement first in the same architectural style, built in the 19th century by the mother of Egypt's Khedive. Behind these two mosques in the square, there are two more small mosques built by the Ottomans. After visiting these mosques, we decided that we had visited enough mosques for the day and six friends took a Ford taxi to drive to Ismailiye Square by the Nile River to have something to eat. Behind these two mosques in the square, there are two more small mosques built by the Ottomans. After visiting these mosques, we decided that we had visited enough mosques today and six friends took a Ford taxi to go to Ismailiye Square by the Nile River to have something to eat.
The taxi driver who brought us to Ismailiyah Square, mentioned that after Egypt gained independence in 1919, the square was called Medan al Tahrir, or in English the Independence Square. The square, built on a real large area, has a much more European appearance compared to the other squares in Cairo. It is round like our Taksim square, but big enough to contain both Taksim and Sultan Ahmet squares. In the center of the square there is a large pool with a fountain. The pool is also surrounded by green lawns and palm trees. Behind the lawns, on the benches above a circular circle, the people of Cairo were sitting with their young children, enjoying the beautiful weather. The square around the square opens to wide streets like the squares in Paris. On one of these streets there is a huge monument of Omar Makram who had resisted the French occupatiıon. On the other side of the street there was a 12 story building and on the North the famous Egyptian Museum resembling a train station with its red color.
EGYPTIAN MUSEUM AND TREASURES OF KING TUT
IVORY MAIL OPENER BOUGHT IN 1942
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN GODS, EGYPT MUSEUM 1942
LEATHER PHOTO ALBUM BOUGHT IN 1942
Tahrir meydaninda Egyptian Museum
The entrance fee of the Egyptian Museum is three dollars for tourists, it's a little bit expensive, but we've come this far, so did not want to miss it. We bought the tickets and entered through the high doors with statues on both sides. First, we went to the cafe inside the museum and ate a shawarma, and then we started to visit the museum. We started with the hall where the mummies were. There are exactly eleven pharaonic mummies here, most of them with their teeth, hair, nails, even the red dye of Ramses's hair still intact and looking all alive. But the most interesting part of the museum is undoubtedly the hall on the second floor where the treasures of Pharaoh Tutankhamun or King Tut's treasures are found. King Tut lived in the period called "New Kingdom" between 1346 and 1328 BC. Yes, Tut, who was a nine-year-old king, was a member of the eighteenth dynasty and lived only eighteen years. In one corner of the high-ceilinged hall, there are four wooden casket chests, each the size of a room, covered with gold. These were intermingled, and the golden masked coffin of Tutankhamun came out of them. For a while, we admired the golden coffin representing the pharaoh, stretched out with his scepter in his hand. Then, his gold-plated tombstone with lion heads on both sides, his throne, trumpet, rings and even the royal potty.
The part of the museum that interested me the most was the section where there were statues representing the ancient Egyptian gods. There are statues of eight Egyptian gods, one of which is a snake. Among them, Horus, whose body is human and whose head is a hawk, was the god of the sky and the pharaohs were considered all to be a Horus. Horus lost an eye while fighting his brother Seth. But this eye was later restored, and this eye symbol is considered a symbol of protection with the ancient Egyptians. While listening to the museum guide telling us about these, my mind went to the blue eye beads that we use back home to protect one from evil eyes. Maybe this belief of ours also comes from ancient Egypt. One of these god statues was Sekhmet, the god of war, with a female body and a lion's head. On the other hand, Ptah in white dress represents small craftsmen and creativity with the hoe-spear mixture tool he is holding. The snake statue called Neter or Ankh has a long story, from the cross and circle used today, as the male and female symbols to various other symbols used in medicine.
After visiting the museum for about three hours, we stopped by the souvenir shop on the way out. All of the guys bought small souvenirs: papyrus with hieroglyphic inscriptions, evil eye beads, king tut masks ... I also bought a photo album with colored pharaoh and lion reliefs on it made from leather, an ivory envelope opener, and plenty of postcards. Hopefully I will save all of the photos of our two years of upcoming stay in America in this album.
December 30, 1942
This morning, all six of us first went to the Venereal Disease Clinic near the hotel where a doctor was going to inspect us. Dr. Barrada was a middle-aged man, he lined all of us up, looked first at our eyes and our mouths. Then he told us to open our belts while standing and checked us under the belt. After signing the forms we gave him, he used a stamp, one in Arabic and the other in English script, and handed us back the documents. While going down the stairs, three veiled women with heavy make-up on their faces were coming up laughing joyfully. After we got out of there, we walked to the British BTE HeadQuarters and there we received all the necessary vaccinations required for the entry to America and all the required paperwork. We have been in Cairo for fifteen days and finally we were all done and ready to leave for Hartum.
Exactly nineteen days after our arrival in Cairo, we took off with the American Douglas C-47 transport plane for Khartoum, Sudan. The vast majority of these aircrafts built by the Pan American company in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, were used to transport supplies to British and American bases in Africa. Since most of the British military planes were left idle in the Sahara desert due to running out of gasoline and other malfunctions while making their Cairo-Accra flights, these long-range C-47s were much more suitable in desert conditions. The planes could take up to 27 passengers apart from the cargo. In addition to us, there were American soldiers and two other British officers on the plane that took off from Khartoum. Our journey from Cairo to Accra in Côte d'Ivoire took almost 48 hours. We landed in Khartoum at dusk, where the plane was maintained and gasoline stored, while we ate in the casino of the British base and took a nap on the chairs. Our second stop was a small civil airport in the French Congo. After staying there for a few hours, we took off again for Accra. We arrived at AAF, the American military base in Accra, in the evening. Here, first our documents were checked and then we were taken to the area reserved for guests. After eating dinner, having beer and drinks we took a warm shower and retired to our bunk beds to rest. Tomorrow morning at 6 o'clock our Atlantic voyage will begin.
9 January 1943
Kahire’ye gelişimizden tam on dokuz gün sonra Sudan’ın Hartum şehrine gitmek üzere Amerikan Douglas C-47 tipi nakliye uçağı ile yola çıktık. Pan Amerikan şirketinin Amerikan Hava kuvvetleri ile ortaklaşa inşa ettiği bu uçakların büyük çoğunluğu Afrika’da İngiliz ve Amerikan üslerine levazımat taşımak için kullanılıyormuş. İngiliz askeri uçaklarının çoğu Kahire- Akra seferlerini yaparken benzin bitmesi ve diğer arızalar yüzünden Sahra çölünde atıl kaldıklarından bu uzun menzilli C-47 ler çöl şartlarında çok daha elverişliymiş. Uçaklar kargo dışında 27 kadar yolcu da alabiliyor. Hartum’dan kalkan uçakta bizden başka Amerikalı askerler ve iki İngiliz subayı daha vardı. Kahire’den Fildişi Sahillerindeki Akra şehrine yolculuğumuz neredeyse 48 saat sürdü. Önce gece karanlığında Hartum’a indik, burada uçağın bakımı yapılır ve benzin depolanırken , biz İngiliz üssünün gazinosunda bir şeyler yiyip sandalyelerin üzerinde uyukladık. İkinci durağımız Fransız Kongosunda küçük bir sivil hava alanı idi. Burada da birkaç saat kaldıktan sonra tekrar Akra’ya doğru yola çıktık. Akra’daki Amerikan askeri üssü AAF Base’e akşam saatlerinde vardık. Burada önce evraklarımız kontrol edildi sonra misafirlere ayrılan bölüme götürüldük. Yiyecek, içecek, bira ve ılık bir duş aldıktan sonra ranzalarımıza istirahate çekildik. Yarın sabah saat 6 da Atlantik seferimiz başlayacak.
The island of Ascension is a tiny island at the midpoint between the coast of West Africa and Brazil. It is located 1357 miles from Accra and 1437 miles from the coast of Natal in Brazil. British and American transport planes use it as a petrol loading and maintenance station. At first, the British had a radio base here, and after the war broke out, the Americans offered to build a small military airfield. When the British agreed, the runway was expanded to 6000 feet, and the Americans built a substation, an infirmary, a water treatment plant, a restaurant and sleeping quarters. With the outbreak of the war, as in some American states, the U.S.Air Force leased airplanes from Pan American and started transport flights to the African continent and using Pan Am’s personnel and knowhow at the air bases.
When the plane landed on the runway and the propellers stopped turning, the captain pilot approached us and said: "Welcome to the island of Ascension. Flights from Africa to Brazil are always dangerous. Among us military pilots there is a saying:
“If I don't hit Ascension
My wife will get a pension,
anyway, now you and your lovers you have left in the country, can sleep comfortably tonight. We will have the maintenance done, get gasoline and leave tomorrow morning at 5 o'clock. You all rest well tonight." With our bags in our hands, we ran towards the barracks with joy of landing, forgetting our fatigue.
The next morning, before dawn, we boarded our plane again and took off flying over the Atlantic Ocean. For breakfast in the morning, they gave us a banana, some food called cereal, milk added to it and eaten like soup, containing all kinds of cereals and nuts and American coffee next to it. I went to the section where the Americans sat in front of the plane to refresh my coffee. As I filled the cup, one of the American officers offered me a cigarette and started talking to me, pointing to the empty spot next to him. He was a pilot and flew over the Atlantic several times in both C-47s and C-87s. He was flying from Morrison Field in Florida on one of such planes to Accra, to carry troops and supplies. When I told him that we were going to Boston, he was very interested and gave me some useful advice. He was from Georgia, and he laughed and said, "You're going to freeze in Boston in the winter." When I asked what the Natal region of Brazil was like, he told me this:
"Natal is Brazil's most eastern coastal spot on the Atlantic Ocean. We have a base both here and in the clared war on Germany and Italy with Brazil on our side. Brazil's soldiers and military forces are extremely inadequate, and we Americans are providing them with weapons and training of their soldiers. The Parnamirim Air Base, which we will land at in Natal this evening, is located close to the beach on the desert. There is a large bay here called Ponta Negra, and Brazilian soldiers watch the beaches all day, from the extremely primitive watchtowers in this bay. We call these soldiers "Beach Soldiers". When I came here last month, they told me a story about these soldiers in the officers' casino of Parnamirim:
“One day, one of these beach soldiers was again watching the beach from the observation hut. His eyes were caught in the distance on an object that looked like a boat above the sea, on which seagulls were flying. After a while, the rubber boat hit the beach with the drift of the waves. The soldier on duty immediately ran to the beach and in fear of the sight he saw, he blew his whistle and spread news to the other soldiers. As they approached the boat, there was an unbearable smell of burnt flesh and inside the boat was a corpse wearing an American pilot's uniform . Burns were seen on his body and face and bloody wounds torn off by birds. Next to the dead pilot's hand there was a plastic bag. Brazilian soldiers immediately notified the Parnamirim air base. Our people put the body in a jeep with the boat and took it to the base.
Of course, when the corpse arrived at the base, the unfortunate pilot was immediately recognized. About ten days before the boat hit the beach, one of our C-87s disappeared about 1000 miles away after taking off from Accra, and no news was heard from. These C-47s entered service a year ago, and they could fly a longer range and go much higher than the C-87 we fly. In other words it is a transport plane that flies from Accra to Natal without refueling. According to my guess, either there was a problem with the gas tank, or the plane was shot down by German submarines. Inside the bag next to the pilot who was found dead on the beach, were the metal name necklaces of six American soldiers, who were clinging to the boat and all of whom disappeared at sea. These belonged to 7 of the 13 Americans aboard the C-87, the others were probably killed when the plane crashed. Apart from the Americans, no news has been heard from the 2 Australians and 12 Britons on board the plane." While the American pilot was telling me about this, our low-flying plane started to shake with a loud noise. The captain pilot said that the weather was getting bad and that we should all fasten our seatbelts, I returned to my place a little frightened by the effect of the story I had just heard.
NATAL AND BELEM
AKRA-BOSTON MAP courtesy of WW2_1942_Ferry_Cmd_Air_Rtes.
Natalda Istanbul Tramvayi
Porto Negra Sahili Natal
There's nothing as terrible as flying in a transport plane in bad weather. Although it is noon, it is as dark as night, it rains in thunderstorms and the plane makes a right and a left move with the force of the wind. I looked at my friends, and everyone's lips were fluttering, they were muttering and praying. Luckily, an hour later the weather calmed down, and the plane began to fly smoothly over the ocean again.
We arrived in Natal in the late afternoon. Our plane first flew over the beach of Porta Negra and then curled inward and landed at Parnamirim airport. When the plane landed, there were cheering shouts, yelling, screaming and applause from everyone. This was a very small airport, there were five barrack-shaped buildings in sight. Six C-47s are parked around the buildings. There was a lot of activity going on when we arrived. Buildings were being painted, flower beds were being made in front of the officers club. We learned that in ten days, President Roosevelt was supposed to meet with the Brazilian President here and ask for support for the expansion and complete transfer of this military base and the base in Belem, to the Americans.
After resting for a little while in the section reserved for us in the barracks where the officers were staying, we got on the bus with the American officers and went down to the city together. Natal is a small city by the 0cean. There is a square in the center of the city and a government building in the middle of the square. The main roads in the city are paved with cobblestones and the side streets are unpaved . Most of the buildings are white and yellow in color and have one story. The city reminded me a little bit of Gölcük, with its location by the water. What surprised me most here were the trams. The green-colored, horse drawn as well as electric trams looked exactly like the ones in Istanbul. On the trams there is a vatman(motorman) dressed just like ours and a ticketer with a money bag hanging around his neck. Most of the people here are black and friendly. Since this is an important military region of Brazil, you see officers and soldiers in the streets. However, the clothes of these officers are more like the Germans, perhaps a little British, wearing Nazi-type caps with short visors, their jackets tied around the waist with belts and long black boots.
The beachside is full of shabby restaurants and bars where you can drink under the shade of the gazebos. Many of their customers were American and Brazilian soldiers. We walked on the sand into a place that looked like a tavern with empty tables and sat down at the bar. We asked the bartender which drink he would recommend to us. He brought us a pistachio green colored drink called Caninha, which was served in long glasses. The taste is sweet and a little sour, not bad at all. Distilled sugar from sugar cane, it was made from a plant called cachhace, lime, a lemon-type citrus fruit. When we had few of those, we all started to see the sky bluer and the waves hitting the beach whiter. When the black girl who was serving the tables brought the drinks to our table, Hayri and Ali Rıza started flirting with the girl. When she went to the table next to us, this time the American officers were all over her. Of course, she wasn't complaining too much about the situation, as she was receiving the tips, and was squeezing the dollars into her chest.
14 JANUARY 1943
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND PRESIDENT VARGAS MEET IN NATAL,JAN 1943
After two days in Natal, we took off again this morning to fly to the Air Base in Belem. The Golden Horn ferry back home is called the "beggar steamer" because it stops at every pier, zigzagging the shores and this C-47 is like the beggar plane too.It stops at every military airport and opens its hands like beggars for gasoline. Then again the distance between Natal and Belem is more than 1000 miles. This refueling business is also quite a tiring job. A hand-operated pump pumps fuel into the plane's gas tank from 55-gallon gasoline canisters, which takes hours. First we flew over vast yellow deserts and sandstorms in Africa. Then we wrestled with the winds over the navy blue waters of the ocean. But the best view is now. The weather is crystal clear, our plane flies over the coffee-colored waters and lush jungles of the Amazon River. There is not a village nor a road in sight. I don't know how the Navigator finds its way even if he has a map in its hand?
When we landed at Belem Val de Cans airport, the sun was just setting. In fact, this cannot even be called an airport here, it's only a landing strip of 5000 ft. Outside this runway, there is a hangar and a large gasoline storage depot. In addition to the landing strip at Val de Cas in Belem, there is an area and ramp at the southern mouth of the Amazon River for seaplanes to land. Both air plants are jointly operated by Pan American and the Brazilian military. But after Brazil joined the war, it handed over the operation of these areas to the U.S. Air Force. Especially in the facilities in the port of Belem, the Americans were building modern accommodation quarters and gasoline storage facilities. President Roosevelt was supposed to soon meet with Brazilian President Vargas and inspect these facilities.
Since there were no accommodation facilities on the airstrip where we landed, they put us in vehicles that looked like a mixture of a jeep and a truck that could take 8 people in it. The sides of the vehicle were open, and there was an awning on top. We started going through the red colored dirt roads full of potholes, trying not to fall by clinging to the iron bars in front of us. The Brazilian driver drove like a crazy man , trying not to hit the turtles on the road and some animals we don't even know what they are. Finally, we came to a camp surrounded by wire fences in the forest. There are about twenty Indian-type tents here, where we were going to spend the night. They told us to eat our packed food in the big tent, used as a restaurant and not to take food to the tents where we were going to sleep.
The tents were for four people each. I shared a tent with Hayri, Galip and Fikret. We had mosquito nets on our beds. After we got into bed, we understood why we had tents, the mosquitoes began to bite our hands and feet. It's impossible to sleep, there's a constant buzzing outside, and at times we hear howls that sound like jackals, and the chirping cries of birds. Just as I was about to dive into sleep, I was awakened by the screams of Hayri, shouting, " Abi, abi( big brother) ants, ants!”. We lit the kerosene lamps, there were inch long red ants on his bed sheets. We all woke up and started spraying right and left of the tent with the spraying tool they had given us. There was no way to sleep in this poisonous air. We all went to the big tent used as a dining hall. Soon two other friends and a few American officers arrived. Here at the entrance of the tent there is a big fly killer working with the generator, and insects and flies were getting caught by this blue-lit device. The Americans made coffee, we sat at the tables, drank the coffee, and chatted with them for a while. Then I put my head on the table and tried to sleep. Soon I felt a tickle in my nose, and when I opened my eyes, I jumped out of the chair screaming. On the table, a green lizard with its snake-like tongue out was staring at me. It turned out that going to sleep was not meant to be and was forbidden to us tonight. I took my diary out and started to write down what happened in the last two days.
İNGİLİZ GİNESİ (BRITISH GUIANA)
This morning at dawn we set off for British Guinea. After dropping off the three British officers on board the plane in British Guinea and getting gas, we will continue on our way to the island . On this island, we will land at Atkinson airport, one of the "destroyer" air bases rented by the Americans from the British with the start of the war. In the afternoon, after flying over the city of Georgetown on the northern banks of the Demerara River, which flows through the jungle into the Caribbean Sea, we landed at the Atkinson air base. As we were landing, we saw a huge Zeppelin belonging to the US Navy parked in an area of palm trees far from the runway. I had seen many German airships in Berlin before the war, but this was the first time I had seen an American airship. The matter was later understood; These huge balloons, which the Americans call "Blimps," were in charge of spying on German submarines in the Central American and Caribbean seas.
As the name suggests, this country, which was a colony of the British, entered the war on the side of the Allied Forces by giving soldiers to the British. Previously, the local people suffered heavily because of the war, but now since they were exporting bauxite to America by ship, they were better off. The raw metals transported by ship from the Demerara River to the ocean were used in America, especially in aircraft construction.
In the forested area formerly called Hyde Park, from the tunnels under the landing strip of the airport built by the Americans in1941, gasoline is replenished to the planes without leaving the runway using a siphon system. The tanks in the tunnels have a capacity of 250 000 gallons. Right next to the airport there is a small hotel called Essquiba, which was also built by the Americans. As our plane was refueled, we ate at the hotel's restaurant and waited for our departure time.
Trinidad Photos courtesy of John Bross
January 16, 1943
In the afternoon, our C-4 aircraft continued to fly from the Venezuelan coast to the Trinidad-Tobago Islands. Many of our legs and arms were red from the bites of insects and mosquitoes last night, and they were itching. But seeing the glassy blue sea and beaches of the island of Trinidad below made us all happy. There is an American naval base and an airport with two runways here. The Nazis kept harassing these British islands with their u-boats. In the end, England agreed to give the Americans military bases on nine islands in the Caribbean Sea in return for 50 destroyers. For this reason, these islands are also called "destroyer" islands.
It is said that the name of the island of Trinidad was given by Christopher Columbus. Was it from the trinity Christian faith, called “trinity”, or is it the number of the islands, nobody knows? We were going to the biggest island of Trinidad. There is an air base to the north and a naval base to the south-west. The naval base is a full-fledged port with its shipyard not only for docking ships, but also for maintenance and repair. Waller Airport is named in memory of an American pilot whose plane crashed in World War I. It was late in the evening when we landed on the runway, which is much longer than the landing strip on Ascension Island. Two American captains greeted us and they moved us to the headquarters in a jeep. There are rows of aircraft hangars on one side of the runway, with aircraft maintenance and resupply facilities under the camouflaged roofs of these hangars.After driving a kilometer or two, we came to the military headquarters in the shade of the palm and ivy trees. All of the buildings are on stilts, two-storey wooden structures at a height of one meter from the ground. It is like a small city, with six dormitories, an officer's club and restaurant, a chapel, an administrative building and a hospital with a capacity of 150 people to be taken care of in case of emergencies.
The first thing we did was to go to the hospital to get ointment and medicine for the wounds on our legs. Then we went to the dining hall where three meals a day are served. Supper was served between 16:00 and 17:30. For us dinner hours were too early, but we were already very hungry, so we sat at the table right away. Our menu was: Baked turkey with cranberry sauce, boiled carrots and corn kernels, apple pie and coffee. That was a real feast for our stomachs. After dinner we went to the officer's club, where there was a large billiard room. The officers were playing billiards, with Chesterfield cigarettes between their lips, blended from Virginia and Turkish tobaccos. But their billiards are not the three balls like ours. They are two sets of eight balls, like the jerseys of a football team: one set of straight, the other set of striped balls. The game is called pool. Whoever puts all of his team's balls using the white ball as the hitter and puts them in the hole first, wins the game. But if you accidentally hit the only black ball into the hole, you lose the game.
Our friend Ali Rıza is the billiard champion of the coffee houses in Istanbul. Last year in Uskudar Hadji Baba restaurant’s billiard room he even won the Istanbul tournament and pocketed the grand prize of 100 liras. After watching the game and some practice shots he immediately grasped the game. The American officers gathered together around us and started to watch our guy. A little while later, one of the American officers came to Ali Riza and offered to play him with the winner, buying beer. Apparently, this captain was Waller Field’s best pool player. Ali Rıza agreed, but he said “we drink whiskey and if I win, I would like it for all my other five friends too”. “No problem,” the American replied, so sure of himself. They put the balls inside the triangle and a coin was tossed to decide who was going to start. The American officer who won the coin toss started the game and put the first 5 balls in without any problem, when he missed the sixth, it was Ali's turn. Like pulling hairs out of butter, the champion of Uskudar put all the balls in at one go, click, click. “ The captain took a long sip of his beer and said “one more”, Ali Rıza replied, “6 more whiskeys!”. The American said “OK, but this time we will play the game in teams of two players. He must have hoped that Galip, our second pool player, would make a mistake and it would be their turn. In fact, things were going as he had hoped. When Waller Field's champion failed to hit the eighth and last ball, the Champ of Uskudar once again took the cue stick and finished up the game once again by putting the last four balls in. Americans were mature and gentlemen, they shook our hands and said “good game” and ordered us more whiskey. In return as a Turkish act of generosity, Ali Rıza ordered Schlitz beer for the captain and two of his friends, and we offered them Sipahi cigarettes we had brought from Turkey. After we had a little chat and drank our drinks, we asked permission and went to the dormitory. We first took a warm shower with fine-smelling soaps, then a deep sleep on white sheets and feather pillows under the fans. When I woke up the next morning, after two nights of hell, I thought we had been in heaven last night.
January 17, 1943
Our C-47 went into maintenance this morning. If nothing goes wrong, the plane will be ready at 12:00 and hopefully at 1am we will set out for the United States of America. We had four hours until the trip, so we decided to go to the town of Arima, which is very close to here, and take a walk there. We negotiated with the driver of a junky minivan waiting at the gate of Waller Field and got into the van. Our driver, Anjumen, is a little black man of Indian descent around forty years of age. He had black oily hair, silver in places, was missing two of his front teeth, but was always smiling and talked nonstop with an English accent. “My grandparents came here from India, long before Christopher Columbus did thinking he was coming to India, my great grandfathers had come here from India,” he was saying.
The town of Arima was built on a two-mile area, consisting of a main street and alleys leading to it. The main street is quite wide, two-storey wooden houses with bay windows reminded me a bit of Istanbul’s streets. Tall pillars in front of the houses and shops on the lower floors, just like the “Direklerarası” of old Istanbul, several shabby restaurants, a bakery shop, shoe shops, tailors, a bookstore, a post office, a couple of doctors' offices, a dentist, a pharmacy, a bookstore, a black Chrysler and a green Rambler parked by the road sıde, and that's all. NECCHI sewing machines and liquor advertisements were seen on the shop windows. Our driver Anjumen was sayıng : The men all drink here while the women sew using the sewıng machines. For the festival held in February, most of the costumes are sewn here and sent to all of the surrounding islands. Even people order shirts and clothes from England and America.
At the crossing of the side streets with the main street, street vendors with straw hats were selling mango fruit and coconut juice. Mango looks like a quince in appearance, but tastes like a plum or peach inside. The outer shells of the unripened green Indian Chestnuts, which they call coconuts here , were peeled and cut from the top like a melon. You can drink its juice which has a sweet taste with a straw inserted into it. We all got one and we were walking with the fruit in our hands slurping the juice from the cane. Black women in colorful dresses and men with straw hats were passing us on their bikes. We turned into one of the side streets called Carnival Street. On both sides of the street there were bars and pavilion-like places with pictures of half-naked women. Since it is daytime, the street was not crowded, but a woman seeing us from a distance coming in a group, opened the door of a house and came out.
“Hello Gentlemen you are Johnnies?”. The woman with her black hair dyed blonde, wearing a little red short, her big breasts almost popping out from the blouse she was wearing. We continued to walk, but of course Hayri stopped, and started talking to the woman. Ten minutes later he caught up with us.
“What did you say to the woman dude ?”
“Brother, the woman invited me to her house inside, we agreed on $10, but I tried to make an excuse saying that I have to get back to the airport, I'm in a hurry, another time”. This time she said to me: "It's okay, if you want, come in the toilet, it'll be $5." And I said "I am sorry, I was just looking, next time”. She got so mad at me and started swearing. You M.....F......!” I was afraid she was going to beat me up, so I hardly saved my life.
We said well, this is not a very safe place to be and immediately turned back to the main street. Anjumen was sitting at one of the tables in front of a restaurant in the corner, eating something. “Maybe we'll miss the table d'oet at the Airfield restaurant”, we said to each other “let's have something to eat” and we sat at a table. I ate the food they called “doubles”, in a bread similar to our pita. It contains chickpea paste, cucumbers, pineapple and hot pepper. But what a cayenne pepper!, so hot, our çarliston peppers at home could not even come near it. My mouth was on fire, to get rid of the pain I drank lots of coconut juice. Some of our friends also ate a dish called “Palau” made of meat, vegetables and rice. It looks like our” iç pilav”, maybe the name “Palau” comes from “Pilaf”.
It was twelve o'clock when we took our minivan back to Waller Field. The plane was going to take off at 1:00, just in time, so we ran to the dormitory to pack our suitcases.
America wait for us, finally we are on our way !
Sovereign Hotel Miami Beach, FLA
Miami Beach and Girls
Cabana Sun Club
My father's memoirs of his journey ,which I put in a historical fiction story form, which had started in Adana in November of 1942, ended in Boston three months later. He had written to his family in Turkey that his plane had landed at the Morrison Field Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida and then they flew to Homestead Air Base in Miami the next day. All of these I learned from his postcards. I also remember from the memories he had told me that he stayed at the famous Sovereign hotel in Miami, which was partially allocated to the American Navy due to the war. He had told me that there was an orchestra in the hotel every night in the casino which the officers frequented and that they had a great time there with the young women and sometimes they also visited other bars of Miami. But how many days did they stay in Miami, did they fly directly from here to Boston ? I do not know any of these. All I know is that they arrived in Boston in the first days of February of 1943. Here, fifteen naval lieutenants from Turkey were starting their Master's degree in Naval Engineering at the famous MIT University in Cambridge.
My father said that this education was extremely difficult, and when they graduated in October 1944, his weight was down to 50 kgs, due to lack of sleep, studying and stress. Along the school, Boston was also going to leave good memories and experiences wıth him that he was going to talk about in the future. He was going to be a regular of the Boston Pops orchestra and the Boston Symphony orchestras there, attending their concerts every week and he was going to bring a very large classical music record collection with him when he returned to Turkey. Apart from music and school, he had great time and adventures here with Hayri Tezcan, who was going to be his best friend for life. But that will be almost the subject of another book.
BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Great Dome of M.I.T., February 1943
Lake Public Gardens, Boston, MA
THE JOURNEYMEN AT MIT,1944 WITH SLIDE RULES IN HAND
M.I.T. CLASS OF 1944 LOGO
1944 TURKISH NAVAL GRADUATES, H.OZMERAL: Front 3rd from R.
124 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NAVAL ARCHITECTURE AND MARINE ENGINEERING The curricula for the courses in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and Naval Construction and Engineering have become fairly well stabilizelj under the Institute's present three-term program. The adoption of this program, however, has necessitp of Chinese Naval Officers reported in July, 1944, for instruction leading to the degree of Master of Science in Naval Construction and Engineering. A number of Latin American student Naval Officers are now resident at the Institute, taking a refre.sher course as special students. They will start the regular XIII-A curriculum at the beginning of the ahçelerfall term 1944. A group of Turkish Naval Officers and a group of B razilian Naval Officers will graduate in October, 1944. Starting in July, 1943, tw. groups of Army students were given an intensive course of 12 weeks' duration in the fieyld of Marine Transportation. Upon completing the course at the Institute, the men were sent to Officers Candidate School. At the request of the Supply Corps of the Navy Department, a similar course of training of Io weeks' duration in Marine Transportation was inaugurated at the Institute for officers of the Supply Corps. The third and last of these groups will finish on October 28, 1944. Both of these courses have dealt largely with port facilities, cargo handling and stowage. A study of the rresent occupations of the 78 graduates ofrma the course in Marine ýfransportation, XIII-C, shows that most of these men are now with the Army or Navy, the Maritime Commission, Ame 'can steamship companies, or in ship construction. During the past year a limited amount of testing has been undertaken in the Propeller Tunnel for private accounts and for the Division of Industrial Co6peration. Special attention has been paid to fundamental research in the design of propellers. H. H. W. KEITH.
COMING BACK HOME
GOING BACK HOME
Picture was taken in Newport, Virginia. And here is the explanation in the link from National Archives catalog:
Original caption: "Having studied in the United States for the past two to five years, a group of Turkish naval officers make final preparations for their return to their homeland from Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. These officers studied Engineering and Map Reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Cornell University, New York. They are, left to right: Captain Ali Guney, M. M. V., Ankara, Turkey; Lt. Commander Izzettin Mehmet Gogen, Istanbul, Turkey; Lt. Commander Hasan Dengiz, M. M. V., Ankara, Turkey; Lt. Hamza Ozmeral, M. M. V., Ankara, Turkey; and Lt. Temel Orga, M. M. V., Ankara, Turkey. Official photograph U.S. Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia.
In November 1944, when my father returned to Turkey two years after leaving Adana, World War II was still in full swing. At the conference held in Cairo, Roosevelt and Churchill, despite their best efforts, were unable to persuade the President of the Republic of Turkey Ismet Inönü to bring Turkey into the war. In those days, the young Republic of Turkey, which was twenty-one years old, was in a feverish structuring process and Gölcük was chosen as the naval base, where the ships that will join the Turkish navy in the future, were to be built by Turkish engineers here, as well as maintained and repaired. It became an important port and almost all of the officers who completed their education in the United States, including my father, were placed here. As can be seen in the accompanying document, on March 8, 1946, my father, Hamza Özmeral, was promoted to active duty officer as of May 1, 1943, and to 5th degree of State Civil Servant positions. The document was signed by the Prime Minister Şükrü Saraçoğlu and President İsmet İnönü.
While my father was in America, Mustafa, the youngest of his four brothers, died due to a sudden illness. My father learned this sad news after he came to Istanbul and lived wıth sorrow for months and could not come to himself. In 1946, he married my mother, Lamia Aykut, a French teacher who lived in Istanbul at that time, and the young couple moved to a small house in Gölcük. In March of 1947, their first son, I was born. Their second son, my brother Cenan, who today works in Boston Massachusetts, was born three years after me. Our youngest brother, Mustafa, lives in Chicago today. We are all married, three of us have children and we both have grandchildren.
February 5, 2013
This article is dedicated to the memory of my Father HAMZA ÖZMERAL and the following Graduates of the 1944 Class: