Veteran Stories:
Leslie Kenneth Main

Merchant Navy

  • Group portrait taken at a banquet held in honour of Merchant Navy veterans hosted at Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 13, North Rustico, Prince Edward Island on September 25, 2004.

    Leslie Main
  • Leslie Main is pictured here presenting a plaque to M. Arthur Drolet, the Mayor of Gaspé, Quebec, on November 11, 2004.

    Leslie Main
  • Leslie Main on July 12, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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Listen to this story

"I was lucky, never got torpedoed. But I used to think about it often, going to bed at night, where I’d be in the morning. You’d never know that. It was so nice to see the sun."

Transcript

Yeah, I wanted to join the Army but I was turned down. I tried the Merchant Navy. The Merchant Navy then [in 1941], we were short of men; like ships, they were short of ships too. So I joined the Merchant Navy. You had to watch for everything, for leaks and had to watch for submarines. If you were lucky enough, you got clear of them. And the Germans, they were well-posted and well-trained. They could hit that torpedo anywhere where they want. At the end of the day, you went to bed; you didn’t know where you were going to be the next morning. It was always that on your mind, what to do. Your best friend was a life preserver. That was your best friend, because you’d never know when you had to use it. There were two bunks in a row; you always had it with you. I used to like hearing the water hitting the bow of the ship; it would put you to sleep, it was like music. Some had it so hard, some so easy. A number were crippled. I myself, I was lucky, never got torpedoed. But I used to think about it often, going to bed at night, where I’d be in the morning. You’d never know that. It was so nice to see the sun.
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