Feb. 21, 1942 (Saturday)

Tjilatjap, Netherlands East Indies

Word came around this morning that we were leaving. The last of the RAF pilots departed, and rumors as to our destination began to float about — the consensus was that we were headed for Perth and Fremantle. Darwin is out, since it has been getting a severe pasting from the Japs lately. (Carrier?) The USS Preston, another converted tender like the Child, was hit during yesterday’s air raid on Darwin and had a number of her crew killed, and suffered the loss of four PBYs, which leaves Patwing 10 just about finished (two PBYs left in Darwin — five in Surabaya — we just got another one from the Dutch there).

At noon, just as we are about to lift our anchor, the air-raid sirens and native drums went off. We all thought that the worst had come and one would surely be bottled up in the harbor by ships sinking at the entrance. However it was only a Jap photo plane at 16,000 feet — the usual prelude to a raid. I’ll bet this town will be getting hell, tomorrow noon.

Previously, about 1030, an ugly rumor was floating around to the effect that all aviation personnel would be put ashore before we sailed. Finally, to everyone’s relief, we got underway and cleared Tjilatjap, Java, around 1300. The island of Java drop below the horizon about 1600 — we are headed 225 degrees — Cocos Island?

Sat out on deck with Berg and watch the brilliant sunset. Later we saw the brightest and closest falling star I’ve ever seen. I actually jumped up to see the splash!

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