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Lucky to be too Slow

Heroes Remember

Lucky to be too Slow

I got passage out from Liverpool to Saint John's on a ship called the Baltrover. And she was an old passenger ship, had been a luxury, well, a first class passenger ship in her day, but she was now long past her prime. She was a coal burner, very slow and we were, we left Liverpool, join a convoy to come out toward Halifax and we weren't out, we weren't underway long before we dropped back. She couldn't keep up steam. We dropped back and dropped back and the convoy was out of sight. This was in March 1943. Now, so we now know that March 1943 was the worst year of the war as far as submarines were concerned and they nailed, they were nailing our convoy and we spent day after day, after weeks perhaps steaming through to smashed boards and smashed life boats and all kind of stuff and we knew there was a battle going on just ahead of us where we should of been, but we couldn't because of this, her slowness. But eventually we got into Saint John's and the ship had such a list that they couldn't work cargo. They had to go down and man handle the cargo enough to get the ship upright so they could use the derricks.

Mr. Goodyear discusses a lucky twist when his vessel, too slow to maintain contact with it’s convoy, avoids a major submarine attack.

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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