Veteran Stories:
William Peter Lynch

Navy

  • William Lynch in Vancouver, British Columbia, on October 18th, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"That was very exciting because it was the first time we’d been in convoy with lights on. It was very different, after five years, it’s quite exciting to have lights on at night. And you don’t forget that."

Transcript

My first ship as an officer was going straight out to, we were supposed to go to Singapore, but on the way out, Singapore fell. So we went, stopped in South Africa and started convoy across the Indian Ocean to Bombay, and up to the Middle East to the Red Sea. And that took up the most part of two years out there. Well, I was a watch-keeping officer and I was learning navigation at sea. The most difficult part probably was strange hours of watch-keeping, but the most enjoyable part was seeing new ports and areas around the Indian Ocean. I can remember what is now Mumbai. Several visits to Mumbai doing convoy work and several visits to Aden, that’s at the base of the Red Sea; and down to Ceylon, which was Colombo, which is now Sri Lanka. And South African ports, several of them over the period of two years ̶ Capetown, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, all ports, all very interesting. We were still under training. I didn’t get back to the Canadian navy until 1945, the last year of the war. And then I got back to a Canadian ship, for the first time in the whole five years. Well, the end of the war, I remember very, very clearly because we were in Londonderry [Northern Ireland] and it had to be shut down from all warlike things for 48 hours. We were returned. We went out and turned around when [British Prime Minister Winston] Churchill came on the air and announced the Armistice; and we returned to Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and had 48 hours what they call stand down, and that was probably the most exciting part of the whole thing. And also bringing 15 surrendered U-boats [Unterseeboot: German submarines] back to the UK. We brought them from the coast of Norway to the north coast of Scotland; and then went about another convoy down to Gibraltar and back. That was very exciting because it was the first time we’d been in convoy with lights on. It was very different, after five years, it’s quite exciting to have lights on at night. And you don’t forget that.
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