Language selection


Sub Nets and Sleeping Fully Clothed

Heroes Remember

Sub Nets and Sleeping Fully Clothed

The submarine nets let's say in, in places like Halifax and Saint John and that, they had the submarine nets there but they had, they always had two, two boats there, vessels. And they would haul the nets across and close them and open them like that. But down in Bridgetown, they didn't have that. And they had the submarine nets was overlapped and so far apart and you had to zig-zag to go in through. Because anything, you go straight in through, you hit one net or the other one, so you'd have to zig-zag to go in through. That's the type of nets they had there. Interviewer: And what was their purpose? That's so that they couldn't fire any more torpedoes in there. And well the submarines couldn't get in either, you know. Like, we had one of our ships, the Lady Nelson, she was torpedoed in Castairs in St. Kits . . . St. Lucia. Interviewer: Was that before she became a hospital ship? That was before she become a hospital ship. And the captain, it was the first time that he took off and put on his pyjamas for ever so long, because no one never at sea . . . you always slept with your clothes on. Interviewer: Why was that? Well if they torpedoed us. All during the war I never took my clothes off. No one did. You'd have your clothes on and you'd have your heavy coat next to you, and when you were an able seaman there was six men in a room. And then you'd have your life jacket. We used to say you had one arm through life jacket... well not quite that bad but hanging right there, so that if the ship got torpedoed, you'd grab your life jacket and your heavy coat right there. Only time we ever undressed, is having a shower or when you get, when you get in port. And if you were in at sea for a week or two, you still slept with your clothes on all the time. But anyway, getting back to the Lady Nelson, the captain had took his clothes off and I suppose others did because he slept on the settee all the time. Just as he got in bed, bang. And then there was another one, they fired two torpedoes. A submarine come right in there, I'd been in that port different times, but they had never had, had any nets across there

Mr. Pike describes the purpose of sub nets at the mouth of a harbor. Recalling torpedoed in a harbor without nets, he explains how seaman were rarely out of uniform while at sea.

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

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: