There is little I can remember of our departure. We boarded the R.M.S. Caledonia, room B19 (as described on the ticket) and eventually sailed away. I stood at the stern of the ship looking at the flame at Little Aden. It was bright even against the clear blue sky. Slowly, inexorably, it shrank until I could see it no more. I quietly said ‘Good-bye’.
I was going back a place that I didn’t really know, a country that was called home, with which I had some connection, and there were people called family friends and relatives, “aunts” who sent me postal orders for my birthday and Christmas.
We weren’t even going back to Innsworth, my father had a posting to a place called Cottesmore in England’s smallest county. Possibly, for the first time, the unknown was staring me in the face and I didn’t particularly want to meet it.
Kids being kids, regrets and sadness and any negative emotions receded and there was something exciting to look forward to. We would sail through the Red Sea. Would we pass where Moses and the tribes of Israel walked across and Pharaoh’s army was drowned? Would it be apparent where this was? My idle curiosity was soon diverted elsewhere and I wasn’t really bothered about it.
The weather was still more or less the same as when we left Aden, so although we had already travelled a long way we were still enjoying warm weather with bright sunshine all day long. Hardly a cloud was in the sky.
Postcard: ANCHOR LINE R.M.S. CALEDONIA LEAVING BOMBAY
from an original painting by James Burnie
(Please note there is no name on the ship. I have seen on the web an identical postcard for on of her sister ships, so the company didn't have to print three sets, one for each ship, the other two being the Cilicia and Circassia)
© 2012 Gwailo54