Veteran Stories:
Ernest Randle

Navy

  • Portrait of Ernest Randle, taken in Montreal in 1942 when he was 18 years old. Randle wore his white uniform.

    Ernest Randle
  • Ernest Randle trained in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Class Eagle 5.
    He is on second row, third from right.

    Ernest Randle
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"All I say is, it’s too bad we have to be, we can’t live on this planet without fighting one another."

Transcript

We sunk two German submarines over, I guess it was off Haarlem somewhere. I’m not quite sure the exact location of both submarines. There was no survivors on both of them. Well, we speed over the mark where we know the submarine is and we drop these bombs, two types of bombs. You’ve got hedgehog or depth charge. Two ways. The hedgehog only goes off on contact. The other one goes off by compression. We set them for 50 feet or 100 feet, how much water gets in and it causes it to explode. We’d go over the spot, pick up pieces of the submarine, you know, any, anything that floats. Or it could be wood, containers, tin cans or it’s still buoyant and oil, a lot of oil come out. Down we went from there to Murmansk, Russia. And there we were attacked by Junkers 88s, airplanes. They come in low like six o’clock trying to put a bomb on us. We shot one down and we picked up survivors there. They officer was wearing a German cross and one of the lads wanted to take it off him, he had to give it back to him but the other guys who could speak English, quite friendly, and they told us they had a new kind of a submarine now, it’s going to wipe England off the map. He says, all they have to do is rub it off, run it around England and wipe it off the map. He was joking with us. When it come time to take them off, they didn’t want to leave us, they wanted to stay with us. And that was very funny. Well, we got them off and it was pretty cold in the Arctic. So we had to get the clothes off them and get them into the heat and put blankets on them and we had a jail, a place where we can put, can confine them. And when we found out they were harmless, well, we let them eat with us. And when they saw our food, their eyes nearly fell out because they didn’t have much to eat those days. And we used to have, well, butter and they didn’t have that. A lot of things. So they got along good with us. We were out to kill them and they were out to kill us, so they were young guys, you know, they were all around our same age. And on the submarine, I don’t think there’s any more than 30 years old on a submarine. All I say is, it’s too bad we have to be, we can’t live on this planet without fighting one another. Because when they dropped that atomic bomb, how many people died in one shot? But it’s not our doings. You know, there’s a lot of things we’ve done, you know, when we go ashore and this and that and we go, you know, we live our life as much as we can while we’re still alive. You know, we never know when we go out to sea, if we’re going to come back again. And we make the most of it when we get ashore. We’ve got dance halls and get in the pub and swap down some beer and …
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