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Witnessing Dunkirk

Heroes Remember

In the spring of 1940, we were going up channel. We were heavily loaded and on deck we had, I believe they were aeroplanes and there were certain other pieces of equipment, heavy equipment and had been all well secured before we left New York and when you're getting well up the channel you can, you're in sight of the British side and the French side and the French side was all a fire. Smoke, smoke, smoke like you've never, I'd never seen before and when the pilot came aboard he told us that the British had been evacuated. The Germans had ducked around the back of the Maginot Line and they were driving the British and the French before them. They went in through Holland and Belgium and here they were driving the British before them. And the British were evacuating out of Dunkirk and some Belgium ports and we were going up channel. There was a number of ships coming down channel, not far away, half a mile or so. Something hit a ship, a small ship. Now I don't know if it was a mine or if it was a shell from the French side. I never did find out. But I had a camera with me and I took a series of pictures. The ship was up on the starboard bow, picture, picture, picture and when I took the last picture she was bottom, end up and she was sinking.

Mr. Goodyear describes the view of the French coast during the Dunkirk evacuation, and watching a torpedoed ship sink extremely quickly.

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
Battle of the Atlantic
Merchant Navy

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