On today's date in 1943, my dad's ship, Vestal, sailed from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, to Sydney, Australia. The ship will arrive on May 22nd, and dock at Cockatoo Island. On the 24th, the ship will enter drydock for hull cleaning, repairs, and painting.
While there was work to be completed onboard—everyone, from the captiain to the lowliest sailor had to participate in the hull cleaning—Dad did get to enjoy liberty in Sydney, his first time in Australia. With 3 other shipmates, he romped through town for several days. This was also the first time the buddies had seen a real city in 2 years. Dad wrote letters home and even remembered his mother back in San Diego with a gift to her of an Australian sheepskin rug.
The Vestal will remain in Sydney until June 2, when it will sail on a return trip to Espiritu Santo, arriving there on June 7.
Source: USS Vestal War Diary, May & June 1943; Frank L. Dolan's personal account