Suspicions of Conspiracy (part 2 of 2)

Heroes Remember

Suspicions of Conspiracy (part 2 of 2)

Anyhow, then we, we came to New Brunswick, and we discharged after we left Guantanamo Bay. We discharged our sugar and we went to Walton, Nova Scotia, and we loaded (inaudible) for Trinidad again. So, love and behold, we, when we finished cargo loading, we, we proceeded to New York to pick up a convoy and, of course, when, when we passed over the degaussing gear range in New York, they told us our degaussing gear was defective so we would have to get it repaired So, we went up to Hudson River and anchored there and, of course, there was a big barge coming tied on to us, you know, we weren't that big a ship, you know. So, anyhow, the mate he, he had, he said, "We'll put two anchors down." And, and we put the devil's claws on, you know, the anchors, ‘cause he said, it's too much strain on the wind was . . . So, anyhow, that was alright. So, that during the night, don't you suppose there was another ship came in and he, he clipped us, he drifted down on us and knocked the bow off. So, we had to go to dry dock there then and after dry dock, we started out again into convoy for the West Indies, and we dropped out the convoys - never stayed in... So, the skipper and the chief engineer, they said it was bad coal from Nova Scotia, from Sydney, Nova Scotia, can't keep up steam. So, anyhow we took the stragglers route to, to Norfolk, and we was anchored there, and we got in there in sometime early in the morning, anchored. Don't you suppose another ship come up and ran into us again. Interviewer: They didn't kind of like you, did they? Oh, my gosh. I'm going to tell you. So, anyhow, then we were in trouble again. We had to go to the, to the dry dock. So, they took the coal off of us, our bunkers. And the meantime, the wireless operator and myself was, was notified you know, secrecy, that, the, the FBI wanted to see us, you know, but not to tell anyone, any movements at all on the ship. So, anyhow, we went and we . . . FBI seen us, and he said, asked us, he said, "Do you see anything going on, you know, or anything?" And, and you know we couldn't . . . Only thing I told him, I said, "Well," I said, "when me and the wireless operator, the only place we could do where we wouldn't see over the ocean was down in the well deck." You know, on the after deck, and we'd be doing the Morse code there, trying to become more efficient, you know. So, anyhow, the old chief engineer was always watching us, every move, so the wireless operator, you know, he said to me, he said, "That chief engineer," he said, I don't, I, I don't like to see him around." You know, something like that. He was not in the same opinion, you know, as I was. Well, I said, "I don't know." So, anyhow, we retold our, our feeling, or what we saw, you know, to the FBI, and they said, "That's alright." But he said, "What we're doing... " I don't know why they told us that, but he must have trusted us, so he said, "We're taking the coal out, and we're putting it in box cars and when you're ready to sail again, the same coal is going back into your ship." So, anyhow, that was fine. In the meantime, meantime, the, the Canadian National Steamships transferred me to Park Steamship, to Crescent Park. So, anyhow, I understood then the ships sailed. They give her a stragglers route down to Key West. So, anyhow, I guess down there they, they, they watched all the movements and everything else and, and I guess she was keeping up her speed and stuff like that. And, anyhow, I guess they, they, they said, you know, oh, they said, the coal was much better, and stuff like that. So, I understood now, I'm not positive sure, but they said that they were interned, both the chief engineer and the master. Now, I couldn't say because I never seen, I never seen nor ran there afterwards or, you know, known anything about it. During the wartime, that's everything was mum. You never questioned anything or said anything.

Mr. Batt recalls being questioned by the FBI for a second time, and after transferring to the Cresent Park, hearing that the Duranda's captain and chief engineer had been interned.

Jim Batt

Mr. Batt was born on July 12, 1918, in Benwas Cove, Newfoundland. He attended school there until grade 9, at which point he left school to work. At the age of 17 and in need of work, Mr. Batt joined his first ship - the Ambraham - ferrying cargo across the Atlantic. Sailing into Germany in 1938 with a load of aluminum, the buildup of troops and equipment made war seem imminent. During the war years, Mr. Batt served as 3rd officer on several Merchant Navy ships ferrying troops and cargo - including high explosives - south, and to Europe. Following the war, Mr. Batt remained with the Merchant Navy for a few years, then sailed with the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard before sailing with more Department of Transport Ships.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Jim Batt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
United States
Merchant Navy
Third Officer

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: