Veteran Stories:
Grant Carnine

Navy

  • "The destroyer H.M.C.S. ST. FRANCIS, which is escorting a convoy, prepares to take on fuel from a tanker at sea, 7 November 1942. "

    Moses, Gerald Milne, 1913-1994., Photographer.
    Mikan Number: 3396601

    Library and Archives Canada / Moses, Gerald Milne, 1913-1994., Photographer / Mikan Number: 3396601

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"But it was quite a sight. I mean, all of a sudden, black holed ocean was just covered with lighted ships, and so it was quite a sight."

Transcript

The main story I could tell about convoy was the last one. We were with the last convoy going into New York. We had an 80 ship convoy, and at a certain night at midnight, it was designated that there would be no more convoys. And so those at sea at that time would disband. Wartime conditions were cancelled and so all ships would be lighted. This prairie sailor of course had never seen the lighted ship at sea. Anyway, at this given night at midnight, the whole 80 ships lit up, they lit every light they had. And they went 80 directions. They were delighted to get rid of the navy, telling them what to do. But it was quite a sight. I mean, all of a sudden, black holed ocean was just covered with lighted ships, and so it was quite a sight.

Yeah, they were blowing their whistles and ringing their bells. Well, everybody was delighted to have the war over and that sort of was the thing that was finished. Up until then, even though it was probably two to three weeks after V-E Day, well, they went on with convoys because there were a certain number of subs scattered around that hadn’t gone home and nobody was trusting them, so until such time as they were all accounted for, they continued with the convoys that they had organized.

We wound up in New York. Of course, they didn’t know what to do with us. They just, they left us there for a week, which wasn’t too hard to take. We enjoyed a lot of shore time and saw a lot of shows on Broadway and saw the sights of New York. It was worthwhile.

Anybody with Canadian flashes on their shoulders couldn’t buy a drink for anything. You’d go into a bar and drinks were on the house. Which was nice, but you know, if you want to be aware of what’s going on, you can’t do too much of that. (laughs.)

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