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Nine days in a lifeboat

Heroes Remember

Nine days in a lifeboat

Four hundred and fifty miles when we got torpedoed, which was the nearest port to head for, and the nearest port was Iceland. When we got out of Iceland, one morning the sun was shining bright and you could see the mountains of Westman Island. We seen them 60 miles at sea and we seen the fisherman, the Icelandic fisherman. And one boat come over to us and they gave us their food, what they had. Hot chocolate and coffee and everything which we appreciated very much. Interviewer: So all during this time, you’re in a lifeboat ... Yeah. Interviewer: And I understand you were in that lifeboat for nine days? Nine days, yeah. Interviewer: How do you feel for survival? Well, I suppose the thing... anxious to live, you know. You didn’t want to die. You didn’t want to get killed. You didn’t want to be taken prisoners of war. You wanted to, you know, survive and get home to see your brothers and sisters, and your mom and dad, you know. I didn’t say nothing myself, but I woke up in the morning when the chief officer was whistling, “Nearer My God”, no, “Jesus Saviour Pilot Me”. That’s the gospel truth. I woke up and seen the mountains you know. We were so happy that the Icelandic fisherman, inshore fisherman, came alongside when they seen the Norwegian flag astern of the lifeboat. And they gave us their food they had, lunch and drinks. And then they took us in tow and towed us right in to Westman Island. That was on a Saturday afternoon. And you see the mountains, you know, the high gorge you go in through. Put me in mind of going into St. John’s, you know. And the people were on the hills waving to us. When we got along side the pier, there were 50 British soldiers on the island, and they brought us down a big pile of tea. And so, I couldn’t get out of the lifeboat, I couldn’t walk. So I was the last one out of the lifeboat. They got me out of the lifeboat and put me in the British lorry, truck, and took us up to the hospital and the British interrogated us.

Mr. Evans describes survival in a lifeboat, Icelandic fishermen sharing their food, and finally being towed to safety to the Westman Islands of Iceland by Icelandic in-shore fishermen.

George Harold Evans

George Harold Evans was born March 17, 1926 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was one of thirteen children. His father, a First World War Veteran, worked in the Newfoundland fishery and Mr. Evans fished with his father.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Harold Evans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Merchant Navy
Messboy, Fireman/Stoker

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