Veteran Stories:
Cyril Bartlett

Navy

  • Photo taken on board HMS Anson during the Summer of 1941.

    Cyril Bartlett
  • Photo of the HMS Pursuer in 1941.

    Cyril Bartlett
  • Cyril Bartlett feeding pigeons in London's Trafalgar Square, 1941.

    Cyril Bartlett
  • Photo taken in Malta, 1941. Cyril is pictured on the right.

    Cyril Bartlett
  • Souvenir photo of Cyril taken in Alexandria, Egypt, 1941.

    Cyril Bartlett
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"The pilot flew out and dropped a stick of bombs on the ship and it blew apart, there was no survivors. But he thought he could do a little better, so he flew around to see what he had done and strange enough the flames from the burning ship caught his plane and he burnt and sank a little way from the ship."

Transcript

Some time in… I was sent on the Murmansk Run, in Russia. Up there, just before we got to Murmansk, however, we had to pass a place called [Bardufoss, Norway]. And the enemy had a base there. At four o’clock in the morning, we were attacked. We had 32 ships in our convoy and we lost 30 of them. Quite a massacre on us, that.

And one particular thing was that one of the ships was filled with TNT, that’s a very high explosive. The [German] pilot flew out and dropped a stick of bombs on the ship and it blew apart, there was no survivors. But he thought he could do a little better, so he flew around to see what he had done and strange enough the flames from the burning ship caught his plane and he burnt and sank a little way from the ship. There were no survivors. He didn’t survive and the ship didn’t survive. There was only two got through to Moscow [point of clarification: Bartlett is referring to Murmansk] out of a convoy of 32. We lost 30. A big disaster, wasn’t it?

When I got back, there was a signal aboard - that’s a message, by the way - a signal and any Newfoundlander that hadn’t been home for two years - and I was the only one on that ship [HMS Pursuer], there weren’t many Newfoundlanders on it - that hadn’t been home in two years. So I applied for a leave and got home in two years, and 32 days’ leave.

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