Veteran Stories:
Jim Duthie

Navy

  • Signallers aboard HMCS Ottawa, Botwood, Newfoundland, 22 June 1940.
    Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-104037.

    Collections Canada
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"We went into the St. Lawrence because, at that time, the Germans were sinking a lot of boats in the St. Lawrence."

Transcript

I’m Jim Duthie and I served in the Navy from 1941 until 1945. And we went into the St. Lawrence because, at that time, the Germans were sinking a lot of boats in the St. Lawrence. So we went in there and had convoys come up and one particular one, in one particular convoy we had, there was five merchant ships and six Canadian Forces escort vessels, six of them. And the Germans sunk four of the five merchant ships that we had and one Canadian, one of the escort vessels. This particular time when the four of the five got sunk, they’d sink this one here and the other guys are coming along behind and they’d put down their boats and pick the guys up off of there and they’d just about, I’ve seen them there and they’d just get picked up and another torpedo would come and blow them in a lot of pieces. Our captain, he was the boss of those six boats there. Whatever he said, well, that was it. He told all the rest of the escort vessels. And he just got kind of flustered there and he told everybody to just drop their depth charges, just keep dropping them. And this is the bad part. These guys were in the water. And the depth charges were too close to them, because the concussion you see, would just hurt them, not physically outside but in their insides it would hurt them. And we’d pick them up and bring them in and they’d still die because, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with them except from the concussion. I can’t remember that captain’s name, I should have remembered it but anyhow, he got moved.
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