Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


p 53-1066 class of l954 Class VI Connors Sanderson Lee? Spectre Ford Watson Brandt Curran Valtz - Connolly -2 McGreenery - Latham Murray Regan Goldberg --- McIntosh Basius -3 Rivkin Dodge Collins barry Moog Mazzuchelli Bernsen fron Diamond Hennessy Johnst
One of few surviving letters from 1925 friends the Craig family, who were in Melbourne at time of MARBLEHEAD visit with U.S. Fleet - later on sheep ranch "Pine Hills" Harrow in western Victoria. Born 1920, Sheila was five when the MARBLEHEAD visited, and her sister Belle slightly older. Their father was born in Scotland. NOTEBOOK FOUR p 285 [To] First Naval District, Boston [from] Weeroona, Queenscliff, Fourth January, 1933. My dear Mr. Barrett, Thank you very much for your lovely Christmas present. I love animals. It was very kind of you to send them. Belle is in England now, and is having a marvelous time. I have just had my appendix out, on the fourth of December, 1932. I had a great time in hospital. I have got two dogs, a cocker spaniel and a terrier. I call them Jip and Skeater. Mummie is enjoying the bird book very much, as she has lots of birds, and is very keen on them. I love the books. Bob is a jackaroo on a station just out of Hay. He has been there for about seven or eight months. Ken has just walked to Robe in South Australia with another boy. Do you know when you will be coming out to Australia again? I do hope you wil come soon. I am twelve now. Mummie said to tell you that she has sent the "Bulletin" to you. We are staying down to Queenscliff now for the holidays. Thanking you again for your beautiful books. -With much love from Sheila Craig." NOTEBOOK 5 p 255 from loose photocopy " Rear Admiral S.P Jenkins USN mentioned by McCrosky letter "5385 Hudson Street Vancouver 13, British Columbia, Canada, February 4, 1971, Dear Mrs. Barrett, Your letter of January 2 finally arrived after being forwarded from four addresses. I can't understand why the Bureau of Personnel didn't know my correct address, as I receive quite a few handouts from them. I have been racking my brain trying to think of something of interest I could send you about your husband. Our dates andlocations don't seem to jibe very well. I went out to the Asiatic Station in May of 1930 and took command of the MINDINAO on the South China Patrol. We based at Hong Kong and made frequent trips up the West River as far as Wenchow. After six months of this I was transferred to the HELENA, which moved only between Canton and Hong Kong. The summer of 1931 I was given command of the STEWART, a destroyer which followed more or less the movements of the Fleet, altho it seemed we were on detached duty most of the time in China coast ports. We were in Shanghai several times but never went up the Yangtze. We were in Swatow, Amoy, Pagoda Anchorage, Foochow, Tsingtao, and Chefoo. Undoubtedly we met up with the TRUXTUN at some of these places, but I can't remember of any instance which might be of any interest to you. My files of those days are all at Iron Bottom Bay {sunk at Guadalcanal 1942), and what I have told you is entirely from memory. Several years ago I saw Paul Rice in Pasadena. and as far as I know he is still alive. He might be able to fill you in on some of Jack's TULSA duty. The above address is my permanent one. I am writing from address on envelope- am very sorry I cannot be of more help. Sincerely, S.P Jenkins." 53=1066 airmail letter received July 10, 1961, by JBB from Sheila Craig Ellis "Pine Hills" Harrow Victoria 3 July 1961 Dear Commander Barrett, We are all very thrilled with your wonderful Christmas books - thank you so much.= I wanted to tell you Dad died about ten days ago. He broke his hip last August and had it pinned, but has been in the hospital ever since. He was ninety-one.Mum was wonderful but must feel very lonely now. Dad had a military funeral, and there were quite a number of his old battalion present.= The children are growing fast now.We have a governess for them now who has been with us for the past two and a half years, but will be leaving at the ennd of the year when Sally and Tim will start at boarding school. Sally is going to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Melbourne, and Tim is going to Geelong Grammar. I might try to teach Mary myself with the Correspondence School which is very good. We don't like the thought of them going away, and the house will seem very quiet without them. They are both very keen riders at present, and are really most useful at sheep or cattle work- only hope they will settle down well at school. =On the twenty-fourth we are going to Queensland unti the end of September.- we have taken a house by the beach at Surfers' Paradise. We were there last year for about two months and loved every minute of it, and we were all very brown and fit when we came home. The children continue school as usual, and spend the ret of the time on the beach. We are trying to get Mum to come up for about a month as I think the change and the wearm climate would do her a lot of good. She and Dad were there about fifteen years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Belle may come too. In November Tom and I hope to go to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Saigon, and Malaya for about a month. We shall fly all the way. Would much rather go by ship, but wouldn't like to leave the family for so long. Air travel is so easy now you should visit Australia again, ewe should be delighted to have you stay with us and would show you as much as possible. Also I would love you to see the children, and we would all love to see you again. You wuld notice a vast difference in this country now. -it has really developed tremendously since the war, and altho there is a lot of talk around the city about the "Credit Squeeze" unemployment etc- I think it is mainly bringing the hire purchase people back to the field and most other things are pretty steady.We have a very good season here, as there is over most of Australia,altho parts of Queensland and New South Wales need rain very badly. Undfortunately it is very dry where Davy and Ken are. = We had a very hectic time here during the May holidays with our own children and five others staying with us. I foud nine children in the house, with their ages ranging from fourteen to two and a half very noisy and tiring,but I think they all had a very good time. We had enough bikes and ponies that the boys couod have the bikes in the mornings and the girls in the afternoons and vice versa- so actually we only saw them at meals and in the evnings. I think they are all coming back agin for the May holidays next year. Their only outing for the holidays is to a race meeting at the next town of Coleraine on the final Saturday It is a sort of picnic meeting,and the children adore it. = Belle now has a house of her own, very small, but most conveniently located.I think she gets pretty lonesome living by herself though. She has just had Mary to stay with her for a fortnight, for Mary had to go to Melbourne for that time to see a specialist about a rash she had on her feet. They both had a very good time.Belle is really marvelous to the kids, it will be very nice for Sol having her in Melbourne when she iis at school there, as I mimagine she will always be hungry at school, and will be able to have some good meals with Belle at the weekends.= Will write you from Queensland and send you some photos of the kids. I do hope you are in better health by now- our thoughts here have been with you a lot even though I haven't written. with love from us all, Sheila Craig Ellis." + Mailed July 10, 1961: First World War MD Dies at Ninety-One - Dr. William Bannerman Craig of St. Kilda, who won the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry and devotion to duty in the first World War, died yesterday. He was ninety-one. Born and educated in Scotland, Dr. Craig studied native customs in New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands before coming to Australia. He practicsed in Warrnambool before enlisting as Regimental Medical Officer of the Twenty-Second Battalion, Australian Infantry Force. On his return to Australia he became a medical officer in the Repatriation Department. Survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.
Subject: (R)
Year: 1925_