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Standby at El Alamein

Heroes Remember

Standby at El Alamein

We were ordered into the Mediterranean, where we went, we went through the Suez Canal at high speed. We went through at a maximum of 15 knots which was a no, no, because of the wash that ships create. Nothing ever went through there above four or five knots, but we went through it flat out into Alexandria and we stayed there for several days and during that time, this was the time of the battle of El Alamein. Rommel was in charge, he was driving the British before him east and Montgomery decided he was going to make a stand at El Alamein. Now at El Alamein there's the Mediterranean. There's about, I'll say 12 or 15 miles of desert and then there's the Quatuor depression, where cars, where things cannot go. So Montgomery, he was going to make the stand at El Alamein, and he did. He had the guns, wheel to wheel to wheel to wheel and he stopped the Germans there and started to drive them back which he did, until they drove him back to Tunisia and so on. In the meantime we were in Alexandria, and our purpose was to stand by in case Rommel broke through at El Alamein and if he did he was into Egypt and then he was into where the oil fields are in Iran and Iraq and these places. If Rommel broke through, the engineers were to blow the bridges, do all the damage they could and come to our ship. We'd take them off and scatter but it didn't happen. Rommel stopped, Montgomery stopped Rommel at El Alamein and that was, that was the first battle that was won in what I call our war and from then on it was an ongoing thing.

Mr. Goodyear describes being on standby to evacuate British troops via Egypt should the Germans have breached the defences at El Alamein.

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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