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Survival and Rescue

Heroes Remember

My, dark that night, we were still, we couldn't get, if you went near a raft they'd drive you away because the prisoners had charge of the rafts. And they knew us because we had a different life jacket. Our life jacket was something like a coat, a long coat, and there's were the Mae West type. So they'd know you and if you went near them, drive you away. So we suffered out that night. Stayed awake with them in some fashion and the next day there were sharks around by then, the sharks were taking people and it was... So by dark that night I said to Hill, I said, “Why, if we don't get one of these rafts,” I said, “you'll never see another daylight.” And he said, “Let's take one!” Thinking process at this point was slow and I didn't quite grasp what he meant. So he said, “There's a big raft there.” He said, “there's 13 people on it,” and he said, “Let's take it!” “How?” “We go up along side it and we pull a man off, and we'll hold him under”. Jeez I kind of shook my head. He says, “Well,” he says, “you look after me.” He says, “I'll do it and,” he says, “if anybody comes near me,” he says,“you nail them!” And this was more or less the agreement. Well, before long there was 13 of them they were gone and we had the raft. There was one fellow there, he had one arm and Hill left him aboard, not me Hill. He was a soldier. He was a trained killer. This is what they're trained to do and I didn't have the nerve. I don't know what I had, but anyway, he kept one fellow aboard. And that's just our second night now in the water and sometime during the night, a ship came along side and took us aboard. Aboard a boat and then aboard the ship. And the ship turned out to be one called the Alphonso De Albuquerque which was a Portugese sloop of war.

Mr. Goodyear describes being in the water for two days, the danger of sharks, and the forcible taking of a life raft occupied by Italian prisoners of war.

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.

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

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