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Thoughts on Heroism

Heroes Remember

Heroes are not just born. There is something in the men and human beings that self-preservation and see your fellow men being destroyed and then you feel like, you know, you had to do something on your own to do the best you can to save the fellow person or do something like that. Circumstances didn’t dictate to me that I was that close to the action. I was on the ship, I was in the convoy and when the ship was sunk the men was in the water. You look at the water, you make the sign of the cross and say, “Thank god it’s not me!” Self-preservation, but in other circumstances in certain times, no. In life boats I heard different Norwegian crew tell me about how they were so hungry and so thirsty that they cut a piece of one of the dead bodies and ate the meat. They say to survive twenty-four days on the water in an open life boat, that’s where heroes are made and buried.

Mr. Tanner offers some general comments on heroism, and then discusses the extremes gone to survive twenty-four days in a life boat without food and water.

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
D/S Sirehei

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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