Veteran Stories:
Ralph Lloyd

Navy

  • Ralph Lloyd ERA 4th Class (right) with his parents Walter and Frances in 1943.

  • Ralph Lloyd (far left) and fellow Engine Room Artificers on pay day aboard HMCS St. Thomas, 1944.

  • Ralph Lloyd in the engine room of HMCS St. Thomas at the main throttle.

  • The crew of U-877, now prisoners of war, receive instructions aboard HMCS St. Thomas.

  • Ralph Lloyd retrieved this oxygen tank from the sinking of U-877. This tank was part of the survivor gear given to each crew member and it helped them breathe while getting to the surface.

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"Luckily, they were in the Gulf Stream where the water temperature is livable. If this had happened further west, they probably would have not survived"

Transcript

My name is Ralph Lloyd, a veteran from RCNVR [Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve], World War II. I served on a Castle Class Corvette – [HMCS] St. Thomas – in the engine room as an engine watch-keeper.

One of our trips was rather eventful in that, December 22nd, we sailed from St. John's heading east over to Britain, and two days out, as often we'd do, we'd pick up a "ping" for a submarine. Quite often you'd do particular things – you'd drop charges, etc. – but in this particular case things got pretty exciting. I'm in the engine room with the main engines, and we go through all the gymnastics of dropping depth charges and squid charges, and the next thing I know, we were asked to stand by to ram a submarine. The next thing I know, there's all kinds of excitement, and I'm down in the engine room getting it all second hand.

Finally the submarine breaks surface, and all the German crew members of fifty-five crew people, they bail out, they all survived (two got injured), and before we could capture the sub they pulled the plug and scuttled it. So then all the German sailors are drifting around the ocean, so we go over and pick them up in the scramble nets. They climbed up the side and they were ok. Luckily, they were in the Gulf Stream where the water temperature is livable. If this had happened further west, they probably would have not survived. Hypothermia would get them.

We took them prisoner, put them on the ship and took them over to Great Britain and dropped them off. That was a "confirmed" sub sinking, because sometimes, unless you see it happen, you can't claim it. That was one of our big excitements, and we had many other incidences that were humorous, often critical, and quite often it was routine, but sometimes routine is broken very abruptly.

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