Language selection


Torpedoed (Part II)

Archived Content

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Media Information


Torpedoed (Part II)

The damaged ship had to return to land. This operation took a number of days. There were dead that had to be buried in Scotland. They were followed by enemy submarines. Relates a principle of war: Everything that floats in the sea is a danger.


Guy Jobin

Mr. Jobin’s father was a chemist for a mill in Chandler, in the Gaspé. During the Depression, his father left to go work in Masson, in the Outaouais Region, and the family joined him 18 months later. They settled in Buckingham and when war was declared young Guy Jobin, a lover of ships, wanted to enlist in the Navy. He did his basic training in Québec and then went to Halifax to learn to fire guns before being sent to British Columbia. His group of Canadians left on the British aircraft carrier HMS Nabob. The ship went down the Pacific coast, crossed the Panama Canal and stopped in Virginia before arriving in England, at Liverpool. There they found the remains of a city damaged by 9 days German bombings. The Nabob was active in the British Isles throughout the war. During a mission to Scapa Flow in northern Scotland, the boat was hit by a torpedo. Upon his return to Canada, Mr. Jobin was hospitalized for awhile.


Torpedoed (Part II)

The boat had been abandoned except for ninety men, and I was one of them. We stayed on board hoping to start the engines. Didn’t they manage to get the engines started that night, at five knots, six knots per hour? We made a five day and six night trip in a raging sea . . . Three storms. We were dogged by a submarine the first night and we kept it behind us. I don’t know if it was trying to take us from the side. We’d turn our back to him, you get the idea? Because you don’t torpedo a boat from the front or from behind. You have to hit it in the side, y’know, obviously, unless it’s a lucky shot. But you don’t do it because it’s not wide enough there, you’re almost two miles away, y’know, to make a lucky shot . . . So this submarine, twice, he came up behind us and we kept it there and we kept him there because we were leaving a trail of oil, y’know. It had broken . . . We left a trail of oil behind us and he followed it, of course. And also, when you’re torpedoed, well, there’s what do you call it, for breakfast, oranges and whatever, these float awhile on the ocean. When you see an orange or a grapefruit, you say, “Oh! [inaudible]. There’s something going on here.” Or pieces of anything floating. Because in the navy anything that floats is dangerous. A bit of wood, anything at all, “What’s that?” You’ve gotta fire at it, gotta sink it, because it can be a possible danger. A submarine that is just looking. Everything that floats is dangerous. Even a pilot that has gone down in his plane, who is floating in his life preserver, nothing but a skeleton there, it’s a danger. They fire at it, they sink it, y’know? They don’t allow these types of things. In any case, we left and did five days and six nights with nothing to eat. They had killed all the cooks. We lost about forty men. And the boat . . . they towed it a month later and the bodies were still on board, all our dead were still aboard . . . Not all; we managed to get a few out. They went down Firth of Forth, there was a big English naval base there. They put it in dry-dock, emptied it, and brought out the bodies. That didn’t smell good, you can be sure of that. It had been a month, a month and a half, maybe longer, they had been in there. Then they buried them in Dunfermline, in Scotland. I have photos of that . . .A row of tombstones there, y’know? That’s what happened.

Date modified: