Excerpt from “Chapter 11 – Telergma”

The Jolly Roger: An Airman’s Tale of Survival in World War II by William C. Atkinson

Excerpt from “Chapter 11 – Telergma”:

The Jolly Roger and her crew departed Natal at midnight, December 21, 1943, and headed northeast over the dark Atlantic Ocean. The drone of the engines unwantedly penetrated all ears aboard, but, as always, lent a reassuring sound as well. Engine failure, even one engine, could be problematic given the 1,875 miles of open water between Natal and Dakar, French West Africa. There was little chance of survival if ditching in the ocean became necessary. Those aboard who were not directly involved with the operation of the plane began finding ways to get comfortable for the anticipated twelve hour flight.

Sgt. Atkinson set about cranking out his long range antenna and tuning the radio to the Parnamirim Field frequency. His briefing prior to departure instructed him to monitor Natal until the halfway point, and then switch over to the frequency for Mallard Field in Dakar located on the westernmost point of Africa. He was warned to anticipate a possible void in reception mid-Atlantic, depending on atmospheric conditions. He was also given the frequency for the base on Ascension Island located mid ocean but well south of their route, as a possible back up contact.