Veteran Stories:
Henry George Trout

Navy

  • Henry Trout's ship, HMCS Montreal, distinguished herself when she rescued the survivors of U-1209, which had wrecked herself on Wolf Rock southwest of Land's End, England. Pictured here is a piece of Carley float (lifeboat) signed by the German survivors of U-1209.

    Henry Trout
  • Henry Trout in Regina, Saskatchewan on March 26, 2010.

    Henry Trout
  • Crew of HMCS Montreal (K319) in early 1944.

    Henry Trout
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"War is so futile that here’s these people, the same as what we are, same ages and everything else, could be real good friends but we were out to do each other in."

Transcript

We [HMCS Montreal, a Royal Canadian Navy frigate] were in the North Atlantic then for, I don’t know how long it was. Our watch, we were granted the leave, of which we all were planning on going to London or somewhere in the British Isles. But they cancelled their leaves for no reason at all at that point, but we learned very soon afterwards that it was because of the pending invasion [the Allied Normandy landings on D-Day, June 6, 1944].

Pretty soon, we were put down to channel escort, sailing out of Derry [Londonderry, Northern Ireland], through the Irish Sea to, to the south. And we’d go into port, Falmouth or Portsmouth or Southampton, some of those places, we would be out about a week and go in there for a couple days and replenish stocks, come back out again for another week or so and do the same thing again.

On one of our trips out of the south coast of England, I’ve just forgotten where, I think it was Portsmouth we were sailing into then, we had just left town and it was quite a choppy sea and kind of cold and one of those miserable days. And we went out, I think it was the following day, we weren’t out too long and all of a sudden, the skipper called for depth charges, so we dropped a depth charge. And within a few minutes, out across the sea, there was little white balls floating in the ocean. There was a submarine down below that we had obviously helped to rupture and they came floating to the surface, all these little yellow things were the survivors, the submarine survivors little yellow hats with light balls on them.

So consequently, we then started to do some picking up of the German submarine crew, brought them aboard. We got talking to these people as best we could and I remember one instance, one of the German crew, we got to sort of talking to in sign language, he used a pencil and paper and he drew the south coast of England, indicating where Portsmouth was. And he drew a big square out of Portsmouth. I don’t know how many miles square it was but it was, you know, a good little area. And he indicated that that was the patrol area that we were patrolling. And they were fairly right on target, knew exactly what it was. And inside of this square, he drew another one, indicating that that was their area for patrol. And again, it gave you a little kind of a funny feeling when you knew that they knew exactly where we were and what we were going to do.

When we did get into Portsmouth rather, the Home Guard [home defence organization of the British Army] was out there on this barge, they started getting off and going on the barge to go ashore and of course, they were all escorted and prisoners then. But when they left our ship, they were waving at us and yelling goodbye, danke sheon, all this type of thing. And we were yelling back at them, goodbye, good luck, etc., things you do. The Home Guard I’m sure were a little bit wondering what side of the war we were on anyway. But you know, it just shows that war is so futile that here’s these people, the same as what we are, same ages and everything else, could be real good friends but we were out to do each other in.

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