Veteran Stories:
Norm Stirling

  • Oil Dock fire in St. John's, Newfoundland, 1944. Photo taken by Norm Stirling on the ship alongside jetty.

    Norm Stirling
  • Photo of Crew of the HMCS Sorel in 1945, which was used in Naval Ships Book by Thomas Lynch. Norm Stirling served 16 months aboard this ship, convoying on North Atlantic.

    Norm Stirling
  • Norm Stirling (top left, with cap) with his crew, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1944.

    Norm Stirling
  • Norm Stirling took the photo of his crew in Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, 1945. Ship had damaged keel, taken for repairs.

    Norm Stirling
  • Little cat in a box aboard a ship.

    Norm Stirling
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"The Germans had a pretty good trick of when they were being depth charged of releasing oil and different things out of the submarine to make, make the ship think that they had sunk it."

Transcript

You’ve never heard the song or that saying that said, prairie boys make the best sailors. We were posted to a squadron that was escorting convoys across the Atlantic. We were, we were on what was called the Triangle Run which was from New York City to Halifax, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, halfway across the ocean and back to New York. It was in and out of New York about every third week. So that was my North Atlantic experiences. We got leave all the time in New York and been to hockey games and Broadway shows and had a very good time in New York. Yeah, it was a real pleasure port. New York was huge to a prairie boy from a little city like Calgary, I’ll tell you. You’d look up and there’s a tall, tall, tall, tall building, you can hardly see the top of it. We had possibility of sinking one submarine but it wasn’t confirmed. The Germans had a pretty good trick of when they were being depth charged of releasing oil and different things out of the submarine to make, make the ship think that they had sunk it. But we’re not sure that we did or not. This convoying now was pretty slow duty because the convoy can only go as fast as the slowest ship and some of those old ships only got about five or six miles an hour, so you can see where it was just a plodding job, back and forth. Used to zigzag in front of the convoys and use our sonar or ASDIC for listening purposes to see if there’s anything out there. But yeah, and of course, sometimes, it was very, very rough and you didn’t have much time for anything but to stand watch and go and sleep, stand watch and go and sleep, because you were tired all the time for one thing because the fact that, you know, the ship was so rough and crowded, you didn’t really have a lot of room to yourself. But anyhow, we were only 18 years old.
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