Veteran Stories:
Kris Kristjanson

Merchant Navy

  • Badge of the Merchant Navy of Canada in which Mr. Kristjanson served during the Second World War.

    http://forums.army.ca/
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"And when they recognized us, it was the best thing in the world because we had one of the most dangerous jobs in the war. And nobody recognized it until the war was just about over."

Transcript

[Service in the Merchant Navy.] I enlisted in Vancouver at a manning pool and it was very good. They were very good, most of them were from the west coast. And the officers were very good and I remember one who was chief officer and he was from Burnaby [British Columbia] and I can’t think of his name right now but he was very good to me and then he instructed me very much. Well, there was no training, we just went to sea. When I was an ordinary seaman, there was no training at all, there was just, you look after the ship and that’s it. Well, there was no trips if we run across any German U-boats or anything like that but they were always in the vicinity and we had escort ships that escorted us in convoy, across the Atlantic, from Halifax or from New York to England. All the ships met there in New York or the outside of New York. And we went across in convoy to either Liverpool, London or Newcastle. We were lucky, yes, we were, very lucky. They wanted the more important ships, the tankers and the stuff like that they [the Germans] wanted, and the ammunition ships and ours was just a lumber and grain ship, so they didn’t care. Well, the weather, when I went across, it was pretty good. Well, it was a little rough all the time but you may do with it because you knew that the weather was going to be rough in the Atlantic, so it didn’t bother us that much. And our ships could take it very good, our park ship they were called, they took the weather very good. And when they recognized us, it was the best thing in the world because we had one of the most dangerous jobs in the war. And nobody recognized it until the war was just about over.
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