Homeward Bound

July 11, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

Well, here I am again. And just as soon as we get an O.K. from Ottawa, I am coming home. I’ll dash off an airmail letter to let you know. Also, just the minute I have my travelling itinerary laid out, I shall also airmail you the details. And if I am allowed to return via Paris I shall send you a cable just before leaving Paris, telling you exactly what time I shall be arriving in Ottawa. Keep the Ford in good shape, please!

As I shall be flying home via commercial airlines I shall only be allowed 44 or 66 pounds of luggage, depending on whether I’m in First Class or Tourist. Therefore, I am sending one of my airpacks home with John Plourde. John leaves here tomorrow and leaves Saigon next Saturday. He will be in Ottawa approximately eight days later. As soon as he gets to Ottawa, Dad, he will be giving you a phone call and I would appreciate it very much if you would drive over to his place and pick up my suitcases. I’ve given John the keys, too, so perhaps you could open the suitcases and sort of air them out for me. I’m enclosing a list of of the things I’m sending with John and you can get his address off this list. I’m also enclosing a copy of the “Declaration of Articles Acquired Abroad”. John has the other copies for Customs purposes.

This morning I had my 14th shot in the arm. This time it was for cholera.

July 14, 1955

You know, at times this really is a mad old world we live in isn’t it?

By the time you receive this letter yours truly (that’s me) will probably be flitting about from India to Pakistan to Iran to Egypt, Greece, Italy and Paris, France. Or, perhaps I shall be atop the Eiffel Tower in Gay Paree taking in the sights! The whole point is, anyways, by the time you receive this letter I shall either be on my way home to Ottawa or just about to leave for home.

And it all happened so suddenly, really it did.

Up until a little over a week ago I was labouring under the impression that I still had another month and a half to go at the very least. Today, a wire arrived from Ottawa authorizing me to proceed to Ottawa IMMEDIATELY! And just before we closed up the office at 1 o’clock today, a PRIORITY wire was sent to Saigon requesting our Delegation there to please reserve my air accommodation at the earliest possible date!

Just like that. I’m practically on my way home now. So folks, it’s just a matter of waiting for Saigon to reply to our telegram (which shouldn’t take more than two days) and then away I go!

So tonight I must start getting things organized for the Big Trip. Which might prove to be quite a job. It’s amazing how much stuff you can collect in11 short months!

I might mention here that after you receive this letter, please don’t write me ’cause I just won’t be here no more!

David and his posse, 1955

David and his posse, 1955

July 16, 1955

If you two have nothing better to do next July 29th at 3:45 in the afternoon, then how about jumping in the Ford and driving out to Uplands Airport to pick me up?

Things have happened fast around here lately! Last night the wire came in from our Delegation in Saigon telling me my flight schedule. Which is as follows:

  • Depart Saigon             1100 hours           21 July
  • Arrive Paris                 1420 hours           22 July
  • Depart Paris                2230 hours           28 July
  • Arrive Montreal            1215 hours          29 July
  • Depart Montreal           1450 hours          29 July
  • Arrive Ottawa              1545 hours           29 July

Which means that two weeks from this very minute I shall be home again!! Hard to believe, eh? I leave Phnom Penh next Tuesday, July 19 for Saigon, then at 11 o’clock on Thursday morning I’m on my way!

Needless to say, I’ve got just oodles of things to do before leaving next Tuesday. Please don’t be worrying about me one little bit. I’m so accustomed to flying about strange foreign lands now that it’s just like taking an Ottawa street-car! You’ll be hearing from me from Paris.

Lots and lots of love,

Dave

What David didn’t know was that, while on his way home via Saigon, he would witness an attack on the UN headquarters in the Majestic Hotel! 

It started over here, with the man holding the flag

It started over here, with the man holding the flag

Then there was this large crowd gathering

Then there was this large crowd gathering

Sometime later, around the corner, at the Hotel Majestic, the damage was done. According to David, the woman on the right in the white dress is Clare Booth Luce

Sometime later, around the corner, at the Hotel Majestic, the damage was done. According to David, the woman on the right in the white dress is Clare Booth Luce

"What a dump!" Interior damage at the Majestic

“What a dump!” Interior damage at the Majestic

Look over there - some burned cars!

Look over there – some burned cars!

I'll just stand here with my cigarette.

I’ll just stand here with my cigarette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, following along eventually was this, from Gene Loo.

And so, David arrived back in Ottawa… but not for long!

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