Veteran Stories:
John Kubis

Navy

  • The crew of the HMCS Rockcliffe is pictured here in 1944, with John Kubis standing directly under the 'I'.

    John Kubis
  • John Kubis (second from the left), and his shipmates pose on the mess deck of the HMCS Rockcliffe, 1944.

    John Kubis
  • John Kubis' dog tags and were issued to him in 1942.

    John Kubis
  • HMCS Rockcliffe, 1944.

    John Kubis
  • A newspaper clipping detailing the surrender of a German U Boat.

    John Kubis
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"The captain was named Braeucker, 26 year old, had nine years of sea time. He didn’t disclose how many ships he sank but he was very, very knowledgeable."

Transcript

We protected the convoys to the best of our abilities but the submarines of course would also know what they’re doing and they were always wanting to sink the oil tankers, if they could. And it was a terrible situation when they’d sink an oil tanker; the crew usually would burn up in the oil. And that was dastardly. We couldn’t stop to help them or pick them up. Well, they would die anyway but other merchant ships may pick some of them up but that’s about the only thing I can tell you. Camaraderie was the best. We of course depended one upon the other and there was no slackers I can tell you in the navy because they needed me as well as I needed them. And there was no slackers aboard the ships. It was on May 12th [10th] when we captured it [U-889] in 1945. The submarine was out of, behind an iceberg, charging their batteries. And we got a signal that they were there so the two ships, mine and the Oshawa, [HMCS] Rockcliffe and [HMCS] Oshawa, surrounded it, they had no choice but to give up. We caught them flat footed on the surface of the sea. When we boarded the, I did not personally board the U-boat at that time because I was in charge of the party, bringing the seamen to go aboard. The captain [lieutenant] was named [Friederich] Braeucker, 26 year old, had nine years of sea time. He didn’t disclose how many ships he sank but he was very, very knowledgeable. When we brought him aboard the ship back to speak to our captain, of course in the meantime, they destroyed their log and we had no choice to find out their past performances. But the submarine was in good working order, because we escorted it to Shelburne, Nova Scotia. And they interned him there. We left it just outside of the harbour because we had to get back to our convoy.
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