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Quartermaster on the SS Northern Prince

Heroes Remember

Quartermaster on the SS Northern Prince

There was a few rough spots in my education that had to rounded out because my intention was to become a ship's officer, a navigator in the merchant navy. At a point I had enough coaching, tutoring in trigonometry to say, to realize well I can carry on now and at about that time I had a call from an Alec McFarlane, who was the assistant manger of the local branch of the Furness Withy Company, which was the company I had sailed with previously, “Can you come to see me?” I said, “Yes.” So I went to see him and he said, “We have the Northern Prince in New York. She's loaded. She's ready to go to London and the crew has walked off, ” that is the deck crew. He said, “We need sixteen men.” Well I said, he said, “Are you interested?”, I said, “Yes I am.” I said, “Put me down as quartermaster.” which he did. And about the, about the 15th of December, this is 1939, we left Saint John's on a passenger ship called the Fort Amherst and six or seven days later we were in New York. We went from the Fort Amherst straight aboard the Northern Prince and in the purser's square which is where the purser is in his office and things, who'd be standing there but Captain Jefferies Davis, now Captain Davis was the master on the Queen of Bermuda when I was there and he remembered me as a young quartermaster. He come over and he shook hands, and I was as proud as punch to think that he would remember me but he did and he introduced me to Captain Bucklam, master of the Northern Prince and he says, “Now this young fellow”, he says, “I can recommend him.” He says, “He was quartermaster with me on the Queen of Bermuda.” So within the hour, we were underway, signed on, on our way down the Hudson River and we, two hours later we got out, we got out to the Ambrose Light Ship. That is the pilot's station, discharged the pilot and got underway. And I got a shock, it was a shock in that the first thing that happened as soon as the pilot was dropped all lights on the ships turned off. Not a light left there, not even the port and starboard light. Not a light, but off on the starboard, on the port quarter the lights of New York like you've never seen it before, everything a blaze of light there and us going off into the darkness.

Mr. Goodyear describes the path that led him from Newfoundland to New York to become quartermaster aboard the SS Northern Prince.

Thomas Goodyear

Thomas Goodyear was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland on March 17, 1920. He was the eldest of four children. His father had served in the First World war, and later became operating engineer in the local butter company. Mr. Goodyear left school at age 13 to learn the dry fish business, and in 1936 ran away to work at sea with provisioning coastal communities in Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec. The outbreak of the Second World saw Mr. Goodyear join the transatlantic merchant fleet as a quartermaster. In addition to the North Atlantic, he saw service in the Indian Ocean, where he survived the torpedoing of his ship. Mr. Goodyear offers some unique experiences from his perspective as a Merchant Mariner.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Thomas Goodyear
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Merchant Navy

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