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> Issue 33 > Page 9 - Cape Bretoners in World War One

Page 9 - Cape Bretoners in World War One

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1 (458 reads)

that convoy. And they had to leave us, they couldn't stick around back, with all the other soldiers in the convoy. She couldn't keep up the speed. She couldn't keep up nothing. And they left us and took off. But there was a great big American transport--oh, it was huge, great big ship full of American troops-.-she was a monster of a thing. She had speed, see. She used to keep out, skirting around the head of the convoy, keeping her eye out on what's going on. And she'd come and circle us. They d give signals with their lights, you know, talking, flashing, to say what's go? ing on. Then she'd go and catch up with the convoy again. Then maybe trwo days af? ter, she'd fly back, circle us a couple of times, to see how we were getting along. They went and left us. We couldn't keep with nothing. We were just crawling. We used to have fire drill. This horn would blow. We'd all run to our stations. We slept in hammocks down on the lower deck. There were no bunks or anything. All night long you'd hear some fellow cursing his brains out, where he tried to turn o- ver, thought he was in bed, and he fell out of the hammock on the iron deck. Then somebody else. That'd be going on all night. So this night now, my raft was up on the bow of the boat. It was made of wooden frames with steel tanks inside full of air. That was a raft. (In case you had to go over?) Yeah. There were loops of rope on them so you could hold on, on the side. You got word, "Every fellow to his raft." And they all jumped where their sta? tion was, and got in the raft. (Did you ac? tually go overboard?) No, we didn't, no, no. We thought this was only practice this night, but it was reality. We'd been prac? ticing so often, nearly every second day. So this night the whistle blew and the bells rang. I jumped out of my hammock--I just had very little on--and I ran up to the bow of the boat where we had our raft. So I was waiting there. And it was a pret? ty fine night. The moon was out. This old boat was loaded with every kind of ammuni? tion that was ever on any ship. She had everything that was needed. It was all closed in, you wouldn't know it was there. We didn't know anything about that. So this night, I flew for my raft, all the fellows went to their stations. When one side opened a broadside--my god, she rolled over, with the pounding and the con? cussion, you know. Then the other side would open, and she'd swing around this way, that way. She'd never stay quiet, she was going every direction, and driving out the stuff. And I was thinking all the time, I don't mind being drowned, but I'd hate like hell to meet up with a shark. I said, that's what I'd be afraid of--a shark would get me. So in the morning, it was all over, everything quieted down. We all went back. And we were going on carrying on our training and everything through the day. And he got us all on deck, and he con? gratulated us being so cool under fire. They sank two submarines! I said, "We're a bunch of heroes in a war we didn't know was going on." vjl/ Come for the summer, '' stay for the fall colours- X you are welcome to Victoria County Many people make Victoria County the centre of their stay in Cape Breton. It's an excellent base from which to reach all parts of the island. To assist you in having a more memorable holiday, Victoria County has prepared 5 DAY TRIP brochures, avail? able free at Tourist Bureaus and the County Court House, Baddeck. St. Lawr?nc?? 8?v <:::: It Brook ? Whlt? Pt. ??naon • ?*' Keltic Lodge Jape Smokey 'XIADMILi FAILTE'' One Hundred Thousand Welcomes VICTORIA COUNTY The Warden, Councilors and Residents Take time to meet the people of Victoria County. BRAS O'OB' CAKE (9)
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