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Page 28 - The Sinking of the 'Caribou' Ferry

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/3/31 (1831 reads)

been a depth charge. The escort vessel was up to us then and they were throwing depth charges all around. I didn't see any lifeboats at all. A liferaft passed me and I tried to get on it and somebody sang out it was overcrowded. Eventually I got on another one. I was on that 5 hours and we drifted 5 miles. And the raft was sink? ing. We could just keep our bouyancy by remaining still. It was overcrowded. We kept still and we kept our positions • otherwise it probably wotad have turned over. These are wooden rafts with oil drums for floats. They talked. They sang "Nearer my God to Thee." You could hear hymns in the distance. They didn't talk too much to one ano? ther. When daylight came there was nothing in sight. The escort was gone. We were sighted by a bomber. They dropped smoke flares for the escort ship to pick us up. It picked us up about 8:30 and took us to Sydney. People that didn't survive were picked up by fishing lx>ats sent out from Port aiix Basques that morning. They were all taken to Port aux Basques, identified and sent to their homes. In Port aux Basques there is a monument erected by the railway in memory of all those who were lost. And after the war thev found documents relating to the sinking of the Caribou. The Laughing Cow was the name of the submarine and she was commanded by a Captain Swartz. After sinking the Caribou she went home to Germany for refit and in February of the following year she returned to the Atlantic for patrol • and she never returned. Thomas Pearcey: I was home five days and went back again on the Burgeo. But after the Caribou was lost we never sailed at nighttime. They wouldn't let the Caribou sail daytime. Keep her going nighttime. That sub was waiting for her. She was tor? pedoed between Cape Ray and St. Paul's. When the Burgeo took the place of the Cari? bou all the crew went on the wharf • they wouldn't sail the nighttime. That's when they made it a day run. And the first trip we made on the Burgeo we were chased that day two subs one on each side of us. We had two corvettes. Once they dropped the depth charge the subs were gone, lliat drives the subs away. The larger photo top center is B. Tavernor. Master. Beginning at his left the smal? ler photos around the Caribou are Miss Bride Fitzpatrick. Stewardess; W. Hogan. Asst. Purser; C. Hann. Donkevman; G. Gale. Oiler; Israel Sheaves. Oiler; Joseph Ri? chards. Fireman; W. Samms. Fireman; Jerome Gale4 Asst. Steward: L. Carter. Asst. Steward; C. Humphries. Asst. Steward; M. French. 2nd Steward; A. Strickland. A.B.; B. Coffin. A.B.; Israel Barritt. A.S.; Elijah Coffin. Bo'sun; V. Lomond. TriromerT G. Thomas. Fireman: A. Thomas. Fireman; G. Strickland. Fireman. Larger photos left: S. Tavernor. 1st Officer; Harold Tavernor. 3rd Officer; J. Pike. Chief Engineer' m-t-j.. T T?? ---. o'r3r7vPTTTrZT~ri -n'-.'' • • -}-.j n i l.nn xt 1 o_j m 1 Right: J. Prosper. 2nd Officer; C. Percev. 3rd Engineer;T. Moyst. 2nd EngineerT" Our thanks to Ruth Boutilier. Sydney, for suggesting we tell this story; and to ny MacLeod and Capt. Norman Hinks. for their help in getting it told. Cape Breton's Magazine/28 Don-
Cape Breton's Magazine
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