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Explosive Cargo and a Near Miss

Heroes Remember

Explosive Cargo and a Near Miss

Interviewer: And all kinds of ships and all kinds of cargos? Right, tankers and everything, yeah. And you never know, you didn't know what ship was carrying ammunition. And it's quite possible, but there was ships carrying ammunition got tor- . . I'm just saying this now . . . No doubt there was ships carrying ammunition, that got torpedoed and was sunk. And then certainly, there was ships that got torpedoed and they hit the ammunition hold. Certainly she didn't sink, she went up. I was on the Bic Island and we loaded ammunition in Bedford Basin and we come down and tied on one of the piers and we were going to be sailing in the 7 o'clock convoy the next morning. Certainly, I got sent to the Chomedy, because the Chomedy was after taking some ordinary seamen, out of the marine school in Bedford Bay. . . in St. Margaret's Bay there And all they had was this theory, they had no practical. So then they needed, there was a couple of us AV's had to go there. And certainly the Bic Island sailed the next morning and I certainly was, I sailed on the Chomedy, a convoy for New York and we heard sometime later, that when she got over around the Grand Banks, she got torpedoed. Some say that there was just a, there was just a big explosion and the concussion and they looked over and all they could see, was a cloud of smoke folding out over the sky and that was the Bic Island. Now whether that's true or not, I don't know. She might have just been torpedoed and went down, but she did have ammunition. Interviewer: And you could have been on her. Yeah

Mr. Pike describes how a ship could sink or explode if torpedoed, depending on how it was hit and the type of cargo. He then recalls how he transferred off the Bic Island, days before it was torpedoed, while transporting munitions.

Ernest Pike

Mr. Ernest Pike was born in Newfoundland on September 17, 1921. With both parents being dead by 1934, Mr. Pike began to work at sea, sailing for seven months of the year and attending school in between. Wanting to fight for Canada, Mr. Pike immigrated from Newfoundland in 1941. Already sailing with Canadian National Steamship Lines, he signed up for the Merchant Navy. Mr. Pike remained with the Merchant Navy for the course of the war, sailing with numerous ships including the Chomedy, Lady Rodney, and Lady Nelson. Fracturing his skull in heavy action, Mr. Pike was laid up for three months but recovered and quickly returned to active service. Mr. Pike remained at sea after the war, eventually becoming master of the Abegweit, a P.E.I.- N.B. ferry and settling in Summerside, P.E.I., In 1966, he retired in 1978 after 35 years of service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ernest Pike
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Merchant Navy
Able Seaman

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