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



original v MB On Feb. 8, 1971 from Eugene Oregon Commander Philip C.Dahlquist wrote to me,"Yes, I was on the MARBLEHEAD at that time and made the trip across Tasmania with the group (Jack Barrett was one of twenty officers from the five cruisers). I have a rather bulging file of that entire trip to Australia, and I shall soon give you as much as would be pertinent for your purposes.I knew your husband quite well although I don't suppose we cold have been considered clsoe friends. I did like him, however." On Feb 9 he wrote: "To answer your question: Yes I was in that group of twenty officers nd a hundred men who made the train trip crossing Tasmania.Your husband was one of the officers from the MARBLEHEAD who made the trip with me. I remember the then Lieutenant Barrett as the First Lieutenant or Construction Officer of the ship.I was on the MARBLEHEAD detail while she was being readied for commissioning, and on board when she was commissioned.I remained on the MARBLEHEAD until I was detached on December 15, 1929. On the first trip ashore in Melbourne I met a p44444 young couple who were on practically all the parties we were listed for.There just weren't enough hours in any one day to do all the things we were supposed to do. I find the Australians very nice.The New Zealanders were a bit more 'British'.The Australians liked Americans and American ways- particularly American cars. In New Zealand I had a most enjoyable time in Wellington, and they have a large share of the fiest scenery in the world. On September 25 we arrived at Charles Island, Galapagos Islands. We went fishing and caught thirty-two fish.On the next day we left for Tower Island.We went fishing, and in two hours fishing we caught three hundred sixty-two fish- weight about five thousand pounds--great spirit and lots of hard work- about six people at a time were fishing from a motor launch." USS MARBLEHEAD "On the fifth of August l925 we arrived at Hobart,Tasmania after a run up a river for a few miles.There was plenty of water,but the river banks were so low we had to reduce speed considerably so as not to create waves that would damage shorelines and property.Tied up at the dock.Twenty officers and one hundred men were detailed to go by special train across Tasmania to Launceston.Jack Barrett and phil Dahlquist were among the party.They arrived in the late afternoon and there was an official p5555 greeting at the railroad station. The officers were quartered at a hotel. In the evening there was a big official dinner for the officers at the Brisbane Hotel.The Lord Mayor made a speech of welcome.There were no alcoholic drinks served at the dinner. A lady rendered a solo 275 but there was a loud crunching noise made by a Lieutenant from the TRENTON who had imbibed too freely on the train. He would take a walnut from a bowl and gently crack it with his fingers, making a noise disturbing to the singer. Someone suggested he could use some fresh air. Jack thoroughly enjoyed his July-August 1925 visit to Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, and he kept up lifelong friendships he made there.His special friendships in Australia were the entire family of Dr. William Bannerman Craig of Melbourne.In Melbourne life was one party after another- ashore and return parties given by the ship. In New Zealand one special friend was Haskell Anderson, wounded at Gallipoli who Jack had befriended in Virginia or Washington DC while Anderson was convalescing and returning home.Anderson was General Motors automobile dealer in Wellington and Napier in 1925, and he telegraphed to Jack prior to the MARBLEHEAD's arrival August 3, "Motor car at your disposal during stay." Anderson made sure Jack saw Napier and the North Island Thermal District and was entertained extensively. The Rainey family were new friends from the 1925 visit, with whom Jack kept in touch.To give someidea of the Australian, New Zealand days, I am giving here verbatim an account Jack wrote at the time [Mrs. Marjory Rainey enjoyed reading a copy we sent in 1970]"Turned out early Sunday morning,had some breakfast. AARD car called for me about 7:45 AM. Rode in front seat so had good view--went around to Masonic Hall to join other car and receive some additional passengers.There were two American women,tourists coming down from Rotorua,in the other car, which led the way out p6666 247= of Napier. This leading car was an old Hudson touring car, the driver of which claimed he had driven it more than three hundred thousand miles. Snapped a few pictures of it later at Palmerston north.Had a very interesting trip-fortunately the Manawatu Gorge was open till five pm so we got through it, saving time by avoiding detour and also giving view of gorge.Second car only went as far as Danvenirk? where some of the passengers left us.Driving through the gorge was very nasty in some places, but we had no mishaps.We arrived at North Palmerston at 12:45, had lunch there -some changes of passengers were made.We changed cars for Wellington.My companion in the front seat for this stage of the trip was Captain John.B. Rainey,General Manager of Cunard Shipping Lines in Wellington,New Zealand.He had spent some time in the United States when a young man and had served in the Texas Rangers,the expert riding and shooting Texas group that enforced law and order in early days. We talked and were fairly well acquiainted by the time we reached Wellington.I went to the Midland Hotel and had dinner - happened to be seated at table with a Captain Lochner, Thirty-First Lancers Retired, now in business in Auckland, and we spent an interesting evening till 10:30 discussing strategy, economics and our past experiences straight from the shoulder like old friends.Then parted- I returned to ship and at last got a real night's sleep.Routine work next day.I was detached to Rotary reception in Kirkaldie at 8:00 pm Monday.Met some people that had been in Nice last Christmas (l924) when the ship was at Villefranche, a nearby port, and after a pleasant evening was invited to dinner with them for Wednesday.The next afternoon Tuesday I drove about town considerably to arrange =p7777 to bring some materials including one half-ton of soap for ship's laundry, then around to railway station to meet Napier train.{I] finally decided that Napier people had been unable to come,- then went to see Captain Rainey. He took me to the Wellesley Club afterwards remained there to nearly seven when the Marine Superintendant for Commonwealth and Dominion Captain West invited Captain Rainey and me to go out home to dinner with him and take pot luck. Did so. General Beers drove us out.Captain West showed us medals he got for saving lives in North Atlantic winter gales while in the White Star line.Also a piece of China salvaged from wreck [of the] old USS TRENTON wrecked at Apia Samoa l888? Then went to Barclay Smith's and played roulette till one AM. Returned to ship in TRENTON boat.Captain Rainey and I were partners in the roulette, so I didn"t have much to bother about. Next evening I had dinner with folks I had met at the Rotary Club reception Monday Mr. and Mrs. Launcelot Moore and Miss Leslie Taverner. Had a very pleasant quiet evening. Next day I went ashore early, went to races at Trentham,saw many people that I knew. Captain West,Captain Rainey had a very interesting day picked three or four winners actually netted a slight loss finally and returned to Wellington about five pm went out to ship slipped into uniform evening dress and went to Navy League Ball. Fared poorly on program as boat was late leaving ship,as dinner for guests dragged slowly. The next day while going ashore in ten am boat it backfired and took fire - serious.Assistance came from ship's boats,nearby ships, and harbor tow boat. I shifted to another boat and had lunch with the Raineys - young Rainey and his fiancee Miss Flux, Mr. and [249] Mrs. Ritchie At 3:30 we went out to the ship.At 4:30 we went ashore again to the CLUB then back to the ship. Instead of taking the duty I was ordered to join Commander and party to represent the wardroom at a dinner at the Wellesley Club that was being given by Mr. Martin Leicky,Mr. Fowler, Mr. Ardlow, and some others.There were six of us.Elaborate dinner, wines, good luck Tiki for each of us then adjourned for services stories to upstairs compartment to about ten PM Refought Jutland, talked politics -Then we separated, drove to dock missed Commander so returned to Club to look for him s when young McNally came into club looking for Naval personnel for a dance at Mr. and Mrs. Tansley's we went & danced. missed the auto going to dock,got into car with local crowd,so missed one am boat and slept on the SEATTLE till 7 am then out to the ship on MEMPHIS boat. Busy till 2:30 then ashore to pay bills for ship's activities- laundry etc- had Mr.and Mrs. Launcelot Moore and Miss Taverner off to ship for dinner there by boat with John Higgins to farewell ball on PENNSYLVANIA. This was a very well managed affair enormous expanse of deck was used with three and sometimes four orchestras in use in different parts of the ship.Supper below decks in cabin and wardroom.Tremendous crowd but by reason of large deck space everybody had room enough although I believe there were at least three thousand people present. Next day Sunday I expected Captain Rainey, West DeGrunchy,and wives out to lunch on ship, but windy weather set in, OMAHA dragged anchor, and fouled our bow about 1000 AM,[p9 was duplicate] p10,10,10- damaged stern and adjacent plating somewhat, and when I finally succeeded in getting a boat ashore, I was late, and because of the heavy wind and rainstorm the party was "off." Had lunch at Midland- another Naval officer and a man from Dunedin at my table. The latter ordered Burgundy Sparkling and insisted on my having some of it with him instead of the stout. I had previously called Captain Rainey,and he and his son took me out to their home, Bloomfield Terrace, Lower Hutt,for the afternoon and evening tea. Ended by winning fifteen shillings at card game I do not even know the name of. John Rainey and (his fiancee) Miss. Flux drove me in to the dock. I caught the midnight boat back to the ship.Another boat hit us on way out and dented side about twelve inches abaft where I was sitting on port side. Then after trying to find boat that hit us, I went aboard and slept. Next day Monday we were under way at 9:30 AM for Samoa." On the 28 of November l924 the MARBLEHEAD left Norfolk Virginia for her European shakedown cruise.On the sixth of December they were in Southhampton England.The young pay clerk Philip Dahlquist took a boat to take a walk on shore but the fog came up after the boat left the ship and was so thick that they got lost and landed some distance from Southampton. They had to remain there for two days before they could find their way back to the ship. Jack was taken for an Englishman at his hotel on Leave in London and when he bought a suit, the clerk offered to "sent it around to your rooms."Even in the subway he was asked directions. Christmas even they were in Marseilles and Christmas Day in Villefranche, France.They spent four days at Algiers and four days p ELEVEN M251 at Gibraltar. At Algiers he investigated the possibility of selling International Harvester tractors in Siberia, but nothing came of it. He also bought some very interesting photos of outdoor scenes in Algiers and the surrounding desert. From Marseilles he took leave to visit friends in Lyon.He was very fond of the onion soup served in a well known restaurant in Marseilles where he had visited 1909 or 1911 with ITASCA.They spent two days in Funchal, Madeira before sailing for the Navy Yard, Boston.
Year: 1925_