Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 37 - Sydney Harbour in World War 2

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/6/1 (517 reads)

found the milk stopped coming; he killed one cow and found it with a calf • it was impossible* No bulls in the area* But my man told the magistrate that the bulls didn't chase the cows • * the cows came to them from the pasture • and the case was thrown out. That's true* Ihere was another time, they called from the blast furnace* There was a btinch of Jbulls going on a ship • ahd somebody untied them* And here we were making bills, the convoy going next morning and somebody calls from the blast furnace • Come down and get that animal out of here. Not only was it running through the plant but it was being chased by people that should be doing war work* Eventually, they caught him and we put him on board* J Mrs. Ethel Dixon Dingwall; Kay MacDonald at Shipping Office; Ethel during the war. Mrs. Ethel (Dixon) Dingwall, Shippingraas- ter: The Shipping Office was down at the foot of Dominion Street. It's now been de? molished. Half of it was made into an of? fice and the other half was a tobacco and confectionary store which I operated for my father. And that was in peacetime, you see. I couldn't get a job during the depression days. So Dad was appointed through politi? cal friends to this job, for me. I figured later on, when he retired, it was some? thing he could do. He was a clerk for the Dominion Coal Company. In the meantime, I could handle it. There'd only be a few ships coraing in. There was no trouble with crews because there was no danger involved. I was sworn in in 1938. Then World War 2 occurred. I took Kay MacDonald ray friend on with rae. i/ te were sworn in under the secrecy act. And we had to have those ships manned before the convoys could proceed. And I often think of it now • look out the window and see it • the empty har? bour • and visualize the thousands of ships of tonnage that went from here with vital supplies. Into our office every day would come the ships' captains. If they were in port any tirae they had to bring in the ship's arti? cles, list of the crew and rules and reg? ulations that ship is bound by • men and officers all signed it. We had to certify it on the back. And if a man was signing off a ship, we'd have to get his signa? ture, see that his wage was paid and all that. We knew so many, many, many men; we knew all the raasters. We were all young at the tirae • they were young • we used to have fun and all • after work we'd go for sorae thing to eat • and when you'd think then that sorae of the raen would corae back, thou? sands of them would be dead. There were a lot of local Cape Breton boys signed on as replacements. There was a joke they would not dare walk down the street if I was going by • if they did they'd be nabbed. But they'd come really and register with us. Then a captain would have two deserters, a man sick • we'd have to get the replacements, go for them if they didn't have a telephone, check them and get them signed. And I don't care what anyone says, I think it was quite a thing that there was never one ship held up in this port for lack of crew. They came from all over Cape Breton. You know, it was a funny feeling. You put some of these Cape Breton boys on a ship, shook hands with them and wished them well • next day they'd be back in. They had been torpedoed. (Did you think you were sending fellows out to die?) Oti, yes, I felt that. But they knew that. It was wartime you must remember. Everybody was doing his duty. Surely I was heartbroken. I was young at the time • a lot of fine captains that we knew went and ne? ver came back. Boys that were from here and hadn't gotten in the army, they didn't mind going because they figured that was. their war effort. They were local boys, and they would rather go to sea thah be in the army • so they knew the risk they would take. And for Kay and I, there was the sense of urgency • that you had to man these ships. Cape Breton's Magazine/37 V
Cape Breton's Magazine
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