Regular correspondence for more than 40 years between two sisters who hadn’t seen each other over that long span brought about an unusual visitation to a Pittsfield home yesterday.
Sub-Lieut. Alfred V. Hill of the Royal Naval Volunteers Reserve, in peacetime a resident of Lisbon, Northern Ireland, was the visitor, and his hostess was his aunt, Mrs. Margaret MacCartney of 44 Pleasure Avenue, his mother’s senior by a year. In a recent letter to her sister, the local woman enclosed her telephone number for use by Alfred if he ever reached America. Wednesday afternoon his fleet, which is spending several days in New York, received its first mail since November. That night the MacCartneys had a phone call, and in several hours Lieut. Hill was being welcomed by three feminine cousins at Union Station.
It was all rather breath-taking for handsome, 22-year-old Alfred, who talks with a combination Irish brogue and English cockney or what have you. Almost as much so as the time last September when the auxiliary warship which he was aboard was sunk by a German torpedo, the fourth of a convoy to meet that fate. He jumped from his deck to the smaller one of a near-by “corvette” or submarine chaser, which managed to escape unscathed. He sprained an ankle, lost all his personal belongings, but considers that he’s been rather fortunate after spending two years in almost continuous on-the-water service.
He thinks that the German submarine menace rapidly is being curbed. Especially so is this true in the North Atlantic. It’s still rather bad off the American coast, however, he says. His ship encountered only two submarines all the way from Capetown across the South Atlantic to the United States by way of the South American coast. Both of these were within less than two weeks of the American port of landing, and they were only two days apart. The British eluded both before the subs could fire a shot.
Serving as a committee of welcome were his three cousins, Miss Marjorie MacCartney, Mrs. Martha Schuster, and Mrs. Stephen Terpak. He also visited the lone male member of the family in this city, John MacCartney. Since he’ll be here only a day or two, he’ll have to wait until later to see his other four American cousins.