Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 46 > Page 42 - Howard Yorke, Survivor

Page 42 - Howard Yorke, Survivor

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1 (257 reads)

Howard Yorke, Survivor Howard Yorke: My home is actually in Parrs- boro, but I'm living in Toronto now. (You were a civilian on the Caribou?) I worked with the Bank of Commerce. I was stationed down in St. John's. And I'd been home on a holiday, and going back.... When we went aboard the Caribou that night, they called us to attention, and told us to go on a tour. We toured the boat. And (were) told where to go in case anything did happen. And when it did happen--my cabin was on the deck level. And I went up to the life? boats, where they were supposed to be, and there were none there. They'd been blown away when the Caribou was hit. There was no escape there. So I crossed over to the other side, and no boats there. They'd been lowered down, and too many people in them. And when they hit the water, they collapsed. Everybody was thrown into the ocean. So I went back to my cabin to see my friend, and see what was happening with him. He was from St. John's. And he'd been to Toronto on a holiday, and he was on his way home. He'd made a lot of purchases in Toronto for gifts for friends and rela? tives, and he wasn't going to leave the ca? bin until he got everything gathered up. So I told him, "Forget about that and get off the boat, because she's sinking now." "No," he says, "to hell with it. You look after yourself. Leave me alone, and I'll make out all right." So I left him and went out the back door, and walked along the deck, and heard a splash at my elbow. I looked over the side of the boat, and there was a raft with two (42) men on it. And the raft was still attached by a long rope to the Caribou. So I just vaulted over the side, hung down over the side, and dropped onto the raft. Well, practically. I did get my feet wet, yes. And they held me on. They got me on, got me seated. And I'd no sooner got seated, and I heard a commotion behind me. Looked around, and there was a woman coming down over the boat, same way I did. And we caught her in her final fall, and got her on the raft. She never got her feet wet, even. So we took care of her, wrapped her up in tarpaulin, and stayed there from-- that was at 3 o'clock--at 9 o'clock they picked us up. And there were just the 4 of you on that raft?) At that time, yes. We caught up to one single man on a partially submerged packing case of some kind. He was lying on it with a flashlight. We wondered; we thought maybe the submarine was waiting for us, because the light was there. But we caught up to it in due course, and it was just one man lying on this "partially submerged packing case. We transferred him onto our raft, gave us a total of 5. And when the ship came along, it picked us all up. (Where were you when the boat went down?) I was probably a hundred feet behind. I saw it going down. (How long after you got on that raft do you think the boat went down?) I would say 3 or 4 minutes. The pa? per said it was 4 minutes from the time the torpedo hit till she was gone. It was longer than that. 'Cause I'd gone from the deck up to the top, to see where the boats were, and then back down again to the ca- Phone (902) 794-7251 Cable BRENNANS Telex 019-35149 Night & Holiday 736-8479 794-3178 f'' Brennans "'%' Travel Agency 158 QUEEN STREET, NORTH SYDNEY STEAMSHIP -- AIRLINE -- RAIL AND HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS Overlooking the Margaree Valley at the Junction of Route 19 and the Cabot Trail A full-accommodation Lodge featuring spacious rooms, dining room and lounge, swimming pool • Nearby are golf fairways, beaches, fresh and salt water fishing, camping, hiking. The best of Nova Scotian musicians en? tertain in our loinge every weekend. Check with us to see who's playing, and drop in for an enjoyable evening. P. 0. Box 550, MARGAREE FORKS, Nova Scotia BOE 2A0 Phone (902) 248-2193, William F. Maclsaac, mgr. RELAX IN THE BEAUTIFUL MARGAREE VALLEY
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