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Page 38 - Sydney Harbour in World War 2

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/6/1 (416 reads)

you had te get those crewe e?t. I dcm't know how we did it* Kay and I often laugh about it, many a time we'd be so busy* We had to fingerprint thera* And you know a whole crew of 30-35 men doing that, getting then signed on • the inkpad and all that • we'd be finally handing the captain all the identity cards • a couple of thumbs would be missing, we'd just put our own thumbs on them* We'd have a breathing spell after a con? voy would leave. 4 or 5 days. Then there'd be the cry This ship needs this man, this captain is sick. And in between that would come the shipwrecked men, picked up survi? vors. The Nailsea Moor • this was the first large shipwreck in wartime to come in here • a British ship with British officers and Chinese crew. Another ship had picked up the survivors • and half past 6 in the morn? ing we went down to the old Dominion Coal pier • started bringing them up. We had to arrange for ambulances. Immigration offi? cers were there • for the Chinese there was a bond on each one. And where in the world to put 63 people. The Navy League Home wouldn't hold them all. So we called the array and got an unused barracks in Victor? ia Park. Then taxis and ambulances • and the poor Chinese had hardly anything on them. Under the British Board of Trade regulations we were allowed to spend 35 dollars on an ordinary seaman, 75 for an officer. Stores in Sydney and at the pier opened in the night for us and we took the poor fellows in, and got real good prices. Ihey got them eventually settled into the barracks. Then the problem was what to give them to eat. They wanted their own menus. So we had to get a stove brought in. Then to get them repatriated* There was no ship going out of here at the time to take them • so we had to send them to Halifax by train* We finally got them there and immi? gration counting them because the ship's company had to pay 500 dollars if one ab? sconded • and the poor Chinese thanking us for everything* All those captains, those seamen • they were people I knew much better than I know you* I've never forgotten* Never.' You have no idea. I was young at the time. The captains were young at the time* And they were nice, fine, fine men. What used to make me kind of cross • I know the other branches of the services of Canada lost lots of men, god love them • but the merchant services lost lots of men too. And they were treated dif? ferently. I don't think they ever got the recognition. You see, that was their job in ordinary life, to be a merchant seaman. But they were going beyond the call of regular life when they were on convoy duty. And shelled. When they'd think they had crossed the Atlantic safely • here would be the dive bombers. I don't think they had sufficient honors on them anyway. No, I don't. Kay MacDonald: I don't think the merchant marine received nearly half the credit that they should have received, really. Young fellows who were anxious to go to sea • and * MARINE FACILITY DESIGN CONSULTANTS Big Pond, N. St. Peter's Mln Baddeck, N.S Stralt-MacKay S Pictou, N.S. Yacht & Small C * MARINE PUBLICATIONS "CRUISE CAPE shMar N.S. & Spor hlpyar raft ge & C c?uisi "CANOE CAPE BRETON" ?? YACHT CHARTERS ,a ts Ltd. i Ltd. 3ndition nTlutde Cruising Auxiliaries from 23' to 36' "Tires Our Specialty" SYL'S (Ssq) SERVICE located Two Miles West of Baddeck on the Trans-Canada Highway 24-Hour Towing Service 2 Wreckers -- Call Anytime 295-2911 or 295-9970 Warmth, Comfort and Farm-fashioned Hospitality await you at the Inn. INVERARY INN, Baddeck, Nova Scotia Our Dining Room is famed for its Scottish Fare* Isobel and Dan MacAulay. Innkeepers The Inn (an old farmhouse), the Barn and pine-paneled Cottages are located on the outskirts of Baddeck, just off the Trans-Canada Highvray. A Berkshire Traveller Country Inn For Reservations Phone 902-295-2674 1
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