Saturday, March 8, 2008

Setting out to Africa 3pm 15th October 1925

My grandfather has written,
"Tender “ Duchess of York” coming alongside S.S. Wangoni” at Southampton 3 pm Thursday October 15th 1925. Just on the right of the far side ventilating shaft are Mrs Woodmore sat down with back to Camera, myself and Mr Woodmore (he is looking upwards) "

The photo was obviously taken and sold as a souvenir to those on board the Wangoni as it set off for its voyage to Mombasa. On the bottom there is a small stamp saying Leonar and a number and crude lines printed for an address.

This first image, a mixed group of people frozen in a snapshot on a grey day in October waiting to start a voyage of at least a month. My grandfather looking down, Mr Woodmore looking skywards with Mrs Woodmore sitting by him .. what can they have been imagining lay ahead of them?
It must have been a moment of very mixed emotions for them all.

I am going to write some more about the Wangoni in the next post and I am indebted to Blake Burleson whose book "Jung in Africa" arrived 2 days ago with such wonderful descriptions of the journey. It is only a week since I discovered that Jung was on the same ship as Allan Thackeray, and, although I have only read just little of the book, it had already brought vividly to life some of the realities that lay behind these faded photos and yellowing letters.