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The Norwegians Needed Crew

Heroes Remember

The Norwegians Needed Crew

I wanted to get involved because my other three brothers was in the service. So I worked for a Mont Steading company, a Norwegian shipping company and he came one day and asked me would I want to join a ship in the harbour and it was called the Sirehei loading some newsprint and that was on Wednesday and they shipped me right down to Tobin Street. There was a Norwegian council and a doctor there examined me for medical reasons. Norwegians were hard up for crew and they made an exception as I was too young, because I tried to join the Canadian Merchant Navy, but I was too young. They wouldn’t take me. So I got the opportunity to go and I did. So I went home. I bought a suitcase. Went home and I told my mother and she started the crying. She said, "my baby's going to war". So, I wanted to be part of the war effort, but not for patriotic reasons, just becaus I was a kid and like many times people ask me, why did you join so young? and they say, well you was some brave. No I wasn't brave. I was adventurous and I was a daydreamer. So I wanted to become part of it.

Mr. Tanner describes being turned down, because of his age, for service in the Canadian Merchant Navy and joining the Norwegian fleet, whose hiring age was younger.

Allen Tanner

Allen Tanner was born on December 1, 1925 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After finishing Grade Nine, he went to work for a Norwegian shipping firm on the Halifax dockyard. As a member of the Navy League, he served in an Honour Guard for the Queen when she visited Halifax in 1939. Too young to join the Canadian Merchant Navy, he joined a Norwegian ship, whose crew shortage made him a welcome addition. Mr. Tanner worked on board a freighter, but was lured to work on tankers due to the higher pay they offered.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Allen Tanner
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Atlantic Ocean
Battle of the Atlantic
Merchant Navy

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