Today we continue our look at what the seagoing cowboy experience entailed as spelled out in a document titled “Information for Livestock Attendants.”
If shots and vaccinations can be taken several weeks before sailing, fewer cases of disability would be experienced.
Two seasick cowboys on the S. S. Norwalk Victory, February 1946. Photo: Elmer Bowers.
Seasickness is largely imagination. Fresh air, physical occupation, keeping feed in the stomach will do much to aid in preventing it.
Eat moderately of simple foods. Keeping crackers and ginger in pockets to munch between meals may help.
Spend much time in the open air near the middle of the ship. Keep away from the smell of cooking if possible.
Seasick tablets are helpful for some, but cannot be depended on for everyone.
Supplies to Take Along
Livestock attendants should take warm washable clothing. Laundry facilities are provided on most ships. Soap is furnished by the ship in most cases.
Laundry time on the S. S. Queens Victory, July 1946. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller collection.
Money should be carried in the form of travelers checks. A sufficient amount should be taken to cover transportation to the port city in the U.S. and return plus whatever incidentals are desired by the individual.
Clothing items like socks, underwear, shirts, etc., can be purchased aboard ship from the ship’s store.
Reading and recreation items, books, magazines, games, hobby materials.
Cowboys on the S. S. Morgantown Victory came prepared in Dec. 1945. Photo: Glen Nafziger.
Bible, daily devotion books, Testaments, etc.
Stationary, fountain pen, stamps, diary, maps and guides of countries to be visited and, if you are a photo addict, a camera with plenty of film, binoculars.
Specific clothing items; a good warm windbreaker to withstand the weather of the North Atlantic, one dress suit (not too good), two coat hangers, pair of sport pants, two sport shirts, jacket, sweater, two flannel work shirts, two pairs of work pants, four tee shirts, six undershirts and shorts, six pairs work socks, two pairs of dress socks, heavy work shoes, boots or overshoes, raincoat, wool cap.
Handkerchiefs, razor, toothbrush, paste, comb, extra soap, needles, thread and buttons, money belt.
Towels and soap are furnished by the ship.
It is best to leave jewelry and watches at home.
Leisure-time Activities Aboard Ship
The amount of leisure time on the way over varies with the number of cattle, the weather and other factors. Since there are no duties on the return trip, livestock men have plenty of time to themselves. This provides an excellent opportunity for self-improvement. Some suggestions:
Plenty of good reading material should be taken along.
Map of the world on which to mark the places visited.
Model building (ships, airplanes, etc.) has provided excellent recreation for some men.
Discussion groups, planned to include members of the crew, have proved stimulating and interesting.
Discussion group on S. S. Creighton Victory, July 1946. Photo: Ben Kaneda.
Evening singing sessions help spread good cheer.
Christmas Eve on the S. S. Attleboro Victory, December 1946. Photo: Harold Cullar.
Amateur stunt nights, etc., provide lots of fun.
Religious services should be carefully planned and held at regular times. (both on way over and return trip)
Sunday service on the S. S. Queens Victory, July 1946. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller collection.
Some Places To Visit (Mediterranean area)
One should plan well his tours to interesting places in the towns he visits so as to make the most of time spent there.
In Trieste: Cathedral, Via Cathedral, the Square of Blaza, hillside residences and gardens, Esplanade, stores and open air markets.
In Naples: Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Cathedral of Pompeii, Castle of St. Elmo, Governor’s Palace, Cathedral King’s palace with moat and drawbridge, San Carlo Opera House, Torre del Greco and Cameo factories, Sorrento.
The crew of the S. S. Virginian visited the ruins of Pompeii, July 1945. Orville Hersch scrapbook.
In Rome: Ancient Forum and ruins of the old city; St. Peters and Vatican City, Coliseum, cathedrals, Tiber River, Appian Way, aqueducts, Via 20 September.
In Salonika: St. George’s and St. Sophia’s churches, old Venetian wall and tower, Turkish baths, market places.
Touring the old city wall of Thessaloniki, Greece, July 1945. Orville Hersch scrapbook.
In Athens: Parthenon and ruins of ancient city.
Seagoing cowboy Charlie Lord captured this view of the Acropolis on his five-month trip on the S. S. Carroll Victory in early 1947.
(“Information for Livestock Attendants” document prepared by seagoing cowboys Russell Helstern and Ed Grater – February 28, 1946)
This year will mark the 75th anniversary of many significant events surrounding the end of World War II. Besides the end of fighting, the event that excites me most is the beginning of UNRRA’s seagoing cowboy program, initiated with UNRRA’s first shipment of June 24, 1945. I look forward to sharing bits of this history with you throughout the year – a history of helping a war-torn world rebuild.
For starters, let’s look at what the seagoing cowboy experience entailed as spelled out in a document titled “Information for Livestock Attendants.”
The following information comes from men who have already been to Europe as livestock attendants and is backed by their experience.
Handling of Animals
Attendants should have and should exhibit a natural love for animals – a calm voice, with gentle treatment and manners, with no evidence of fear, is most effective.
Cowboys on the S. S. Adrian Victory tend the horses on way to Greece, Oct. 1946. Photo: Elmer Bowers.
Attendants should check carefully the eating habits and bodily functions of animals under their care and should report irregularities to the veterinarian at once.
Each attendant will feed, water and care for 25 to 35 animals (cows, heifers, horses, mules, bulls) under the supervision of the veterinarian and the supervisor.
Each man should assume his duties willingly and discharge them faithfully. This is not a pleasure ship.
Cleaning should be done daily, as per instructions.
Luke Bomberger cleans cattle stalls on the S. S. Boulder Victory to China, Feb. 1947. Photo: Eugene Souder.
Be diligent in keeping watch – sometimes a delay of 15 minutes may mean the life of an animal under your charge.
Customs Aboard Ship
It is well to have a talk with the ship’s captain or one of the mates before putting out to sea to learn the practices aboard ship, to discover what suggestions he may have regarding conduct of the crew aboard ship, privileges, responsibilities and general conduct. Remember the captain is the absolute master of all aboard his ship.
Cowboys on the S. S. Carroll Victory watch chief engineer and mate cut chain. 1947. Photo: Charles Lord.
Be friendly at all times with the ship’s regular crew. Let nothing disturb that relationship. Crew members respect character in others and expect to be treated as gentlemen.
Luke Bomberger gets a tour of the engine room on the S. S. Boulder Victory to China, Feb. 1947. Photo: Eugene Souder.
Ignore the caste system aboard ship and don’t let it disturb you.
Do not abuse dining hall privileges. Snacks at night are for men who are on duty. When using this privilege when on duty, men must assume their part in cleaning up.
Danger of fire at sea is terrific. Refrain from smoking.
Men should be sure their mailing address is understood and forwarded to their homes before leaving. There are many uncertainties and do not be too much disturbed if mail does not reach you.
Seagoing cowboy Bob Richards made sure his crew on the S. S. Virginian knew their mailing address. Orville Hersch scrapbook.
Conduct in Foreign Ports
One can reflect credit or discredit upon the organization and the people he represents by the way he conducts himself among strangers. Be sensible – act discreetly and with an open, frank friendliness toward the people in the foreign ports. Act like Christians at all times.
Shopping at the open air market in Trieste, Italy, Feb. 1946. Photo: Elmer Bowers.
Never try to violate port rules or to evade port inspector’s regulations.
Plan your own shore tours with competent guides. Ignore “gate offers”. Consult the UNRRA representative who boards the ship, the U.S. consul, and if available representatives of private relief agencies, cooperatives, Red Cross, church men, FOR members, et al.
Crew members and livestock attendants are faced with the temptation to trade with black market operators in foreign ports. Cigarette sales, as well as sales of clothing at exorbitant prices are temptations to many of our men. Faced with such a situation one must keep in mind his purpose in coming to Europe. He has come to the people with help – not to help exploit them.