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Torpedo Starboard side! Torpedo Starboard side!

Heroes Remember

Torpedo Starboard side! Torpedo Starboard side!

The 5th of September, 1945, about 3:30 in the morning, we heard this big bang hit the side of the ship. So one of the AB’s on watch, he said, “Torpedo, starboard side! Torpedo, starboard side!” I reached on up and got my life-jacket up overhead, where the curtains that cut across my bunk. And I had my clothing on. I didn’t change my clothing or anything, just laid down on my bunk, because I was just straight up over the engine room. Of course, I got my life-jacket on then ran for the deck, and I tripped and fell down or something, so one of the AB’s picked me up and brought me to the wrong lifeboat. I should have been in the port lifeboat, but I ended up in the starboard lifeboat, if my memory is correct. I was with the chief officer and I was supposed to be in the captain’s lifeboat, because there’s a list that you see where you were supposed … the lifeboat you were supposed to go to. So anyway, we got away from the ship. We shimmied down the lines, you know, from the deck and when we got away from the ship, Sparks came out, “SOS”. He was a Canadian chap. I can’t think of his name … he’s from Ontario. I don’t know if he’s living or not, but a heck of a nice guy, and he was about 18, I think. He gave out “SOS”, and of course the Germans picked up the SOS. And then the submarine come to surface, and then they started shelling the ship and then put another torpedo in it. She didn’t sink then because we had a load of pulp wood for the mines, for Wales, you see, to prop up the mines. The ship didn’t sink right away. It took quite a few hours. So, we were waiting when one of us in the chief officer’s boat … we rowed back towards the ship and the shelter wasn’t over our head. And one of the English guys said, “It’s better to lose one man than to lose a whole boat full.” And the chief officer said, “We got to take a chance,” he said. “We can’t lose him either. We want to see everybody saved.” Of course, they argued over the matter, and it was getting so hot for us that they said, “Well, set fire to it,” after the lifeboat, or jolly boat was there.So finally, we turned away because it was getting too hot for us. And we rowed away from the ship to avoid getting hit with the shells or something. So, when daylight come, we seen this little jolly boat on the horizon. And we spot it and so we sailed over. The two lifeboats got together. The 12 in one and 12 in the other, and the other one was the 13 … it was 23 of us. So, when we got the two lifeboats together, the captain give me old hell for getting in the wrong lifeboat when I should have been in with him, you see. So, I got out of the chief officer’s lifeboat and transferred to the captain’s lifeboat. Then we went over and picked up Sparks and let the ship go, let the boat then go adrift. Then it started to get cold. That was on the 5th of September, 1945.

Mr. Evans describes being torpedoed at night and abandoning ship in lifeboats. He overheard officers debating whether or not to try to rescue their radio operator who had stayed aboard to send the SOS.

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
SS Envige
Messboy, Fireman/Stoker

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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