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Hero in a Storm

Heroes Remember

We left Boston bound for Liverpool and there was a storm wind when we left and we carried the storm all the way across with us. We were travelling at about the same speed the storm was and it was a monstrous sea. I've never seen the like before or since. But she rolled down into a seaway one night and the life boats, we had six of them, they were swung out. This was practice you swing the boats out and trap them into the side so that if you needed them during the night or anytime, you just cast off the trappage and lower the boats away and into them. Well this night I was, I was on the what they call standby which, which means that you were one of the deck crew and you're on standby on the bridge in case you were needed for something. And this bloody great sea came and took the ship and hove her out on her side and floated off the life boat. She lifted up out of the gripes that she was in and when the ship rolled back the other way, the life boat was hanging down by the forward falls. But every time the boat rolled, the ship rolled up, the after end of the lifeboat would drag in the water and I reported this to the officer and he called the boats men and the boats men turned out all hands. And they rigged, the, this was dark now, probably, when you're young you know you can see things in the dark like you wouldn't believe. Anyway they, they didn't know how they were going to hook the after end of the life boat and this Hughie Onsworth, he said, “Here tie the rope around me.” So they tied the end of the fall around him and he jumped. From the deck of the ship and he grabbed the, he grabbed the forward fall on the life boat, loaded himself down into the life boat, back to where the after fall was and he overhauled the fall, the taggle and he hooked it on the, onto the after end of the lifeboat and by this time the boats men had all hands ready and in short order they had the boat swung up to where she should be. And I thought to myself, my god I've never seen the like of that ever before. If there is any such a thing as a hero, Hughie Onsworth is a hero to do that in a wild, wild, Atlantic night.

Mr. Goodyear describes an act of great courage by a crew mate during the fiercest Atlantic storm he’d ever experienced.

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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