Able Seaman William D. McCrindle

Able Seaman William D. McCrindle was just a name in the book Unlucky Lady.

cover page 1Until Garry sent me this.

HMCS_ATHABASKAN_G07-34

Garry had this message with it.

Pierre

I received the attached article for my website from Jim Dobell – William McCrindle was his wife’s cousin.

They gave me permission to forward this to you as well.

Yours Aye

Garry

You can visit Garry’s Website.

Garry and I…

We fight as oneWe fight as one

MCCRINDLE_DONALD-02

RCAF Station Gander, Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin

More about the mysterious Short Snorter…

RCAF No. 403 Squadron

Follow the lead…?

SHORT SNORTER. H.B.G.

Brandy Godwin 25-9-1942

BRANDY GODWIN!

Brandy Godwin

RCAF Station Gander, Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin’s signature appears on the dollar bill. He appears to have also added the date.

The same pen seems to have been used for the autograph, the Short Snorter inscription and the date.

Brandy Godwin date September 25 1942

Who is Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin?

We find more information about him here.

GODWIN, G/C Harold Brandon (C99)

Officer, Order of the British Empire

– Station Gander

– Award effective 14 June 1945 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945.

Born in Westmount, Quebec, 24 April 1907. Educated around Montreal, B.Sc. from McGill (Electrical Engineering) in 1928; appointed to commission 16 July 1928 and won wings 18 March 1929.

Flew at Camp Borden, Ottawa and Trenton, Signals Officer at Borden (1934-36) and later commanded Wireless School at Trenton.

In 1938 appointed Advisor (Air…

View original post 378 more words

What do you think?

Buzz  Beurling dollar reverse

Buzz Beurling signature

Is this the signature of Buzz Beurling?

About the Short Snorter…

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/famous-short-snorters/

When a civilian aviator by the name of Jack Ashcroft went out for a night on the town, he couldn’t have imagined that this would inspire him to start one of America’s quirkiest traditions.

Legend has it that Jack, a heavy drinker, went AWOL from the Gates Flying Circus where he worked. Upon his return he calmed his irate boss by coaxing him into handing over two dollar bills.

On one bill he wrote “Short Snorter No 1, Pangborn (the name of his employer), Aug 1925.” He handed this back and pocketed the other dollar. And so was born the first Short Snorter.

For the American forces in World War II, Short Snorters became not only a record of who a military-man had served with but also a drinking game and a status symbol.

The word ‘snort’ is derived from the slang for a stiff drink, and a ‘short’ is less than a full measure. When servicemen were out drinking they challenged each other to produce their Short Snorters. Anyone who failed to do so was obliged to buy the round of drinks.

But they also served as a kind of membership card to a special club. Officially Short Snorters were pilots who had flown across the equator, or from country to country. They added other currencies as a sign of their worldliness and asked the foreign fighters they met to sign their bills.

As the craze caught on Short Snorters became longer and were signed by famous names rather than just colleagues. One famous example was owned by Grover Criswell. His 200 foot long Short Snorter was made from between 400 and 500 notes taped together and rolled into a bundle 15 inches thick.

But quantity did not always mean quality. While the most famous autograph on Criswell’s roll was that of John F. Kennedy’s older brother Joe, many were signed by presidents and prime ministers.

The tradition was brought up to date in the 1960s as America entered the space age. The tradition of ‘Astronaut Signed Dollar Bills’ began at the grand opening of the Houston Astrodome in 1965.

Throughout the Gemini III-XIII and Apollo 7-11 missions, the astronauts all carried $1 bills signed by their fellow crew members, some even sporting Neil Armstrong’s signature.

And in true Short Snorter tradition, anyone unable to produce their bill during the mission would be the one buying the drinks when they got safely back to earth.

Genuine artefact?

I posted this yesterday on my blog RCAF 403 Squadron.

Pat Murphy had sent me this.

Pierre,

this letter and this Canadian one dollar bill have been in a file at the Vancouver Island Military Museum for many years.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill

We came across it a while back as we sorted through the many artefacts that we have yet to put on display. I would like to make it part of the Spitfire display in fact I would like to create a special display just for this and place it next to the picture we have of Canada’s most famous Spitfire ace, if I can verify its authenticity then we will put it up on display.

Having never seen a copy of George Beurlings signature before I’m a little hesitant to claim it’s genuine, I thought if it were to be published on your blog site I may get some opinion from a collector of signatures who has seen Buzz Beurling signature.
The letter that came with the Canadian dollar bill tries to determine the names of the other signatures and has managed to figure some of them out, others are not eligible and I guess will never be known.

Beurling Dollar Bill info

On the back side of the dollar bill we see the name P/O G F Beurling, that signature is easy to read as is the words SHORT SNORTER in block letters on the left side of the bill.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill signature

The date, September 25, 1942. Beurling was in Malta and claimed  a victory that day as well as one damaged. It stands to reason he might be celebrating that night with friends. I know he did not drink but he was famous for socializing with the fair sex and several female names appear on the bill.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 90L Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 180

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 90L

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill Short

The tradition of the Short Snorter is not well known, It was common during the Second World War and maybe, just maybe this dollar bill is the genuine article. If any of your readers have an opinion I would love to hear them.
 
Pat Murphy
Vancouver Island Military Museum
Nanaimo B.C.

This morning Pat contacted me again.

He had this!

Beurlings signature

Pierre, I found this George “Screwball “Beurling signature on -line a few days ago, I’ve compared the shape of the letters and I find lots of similarities however I’m no expert when it come to signatures. I did send the information via email to the Malta Air Museum a few months ago as well a copy to Brian Cauchi a Malta Spitfire expert, Author and historian that lives in Malta. The Malta Museum did not have a copy of his signature to make a comparison nor did they say that this might not be his signature. Brain Cauchi had much the same opinion.
 
I also sent the information off to a Malta Squadron mate but regrettably I received no answer from him, he passed away a few weeks after I sent the information and he did not reply to my letter. I have attached a copy of the Beurling signature and you might want to post it and let your readers take a stab at comparing both signatures.
 
Pat Murphy
Vancouver Island Military Museum

Nanaimo B.C.

You can contact me using this contact form.

Just an incredible war story… Mission over Kassel in 1943

Sometimes you stumble upon a story that has never been told because veterans didn’t talk much about the war.

They keep their war memories buried deep inside. Then when they die, someone finds all about their war memories…

This is not related to the last posts about POWs. But it could have been…

25 times!

Lt. Wooldridge in B-17

Click here.

Kermit David Wooldridge, born in 1917 in Lawton Oklahoma to deaf-mute parents, was incorrigible as a youth  (his own words). A constant run-away, he had no use for school and would rather ride cross-country on trains. He enlisted in the Army in 1934. The United States Army would soon whip him into shape.

When WWII broke out the need for pilots was critical and the young Wooldridge, uneducated but smart, volunteered to learn to fly. My dad, a man with very little future when he got out of  high school would soon find himself in the midst of the most important war America would ever fight.  In just over 100 hours of training in the B-17 Flying Fortress he would begin his first mission.My father did make it back from 25 missions as the  pilot of the B-17 over Nazi-occupied Europe. The cost was extremely high. His entire squadron was wiped out four times in eight months. He was the only pilot in his squadron to survive those eight months of combat. 

As unlikely as it seemed in 1934, my father would go on to distinguish himself in the war and have a 24-year military career, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1958. He died in 1994. Regrettably, during my life we never talked much about the war. The reasons become clear as you read his diary. How do you talk about seeing five planes in your squadron blown out of the sky by enemy aircraft ? (See Raid 18, Schweinfurt, below).  

Many veterans never discuss those experiences, but my dad documented each of his 25 missions over Europe. I hope that by sharing some of what he wrote I can honor his memory better in his death than I did in his life. When you click on each raid below you will be reading the actual diary pages typed after each raid upon return to the base in England.  These words are those of a 26 year old pilot who was facing the very real possibility of death. This website is dedicated to those Veterans who fought and survived and to the enormous courage of those who did not make it back.

Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo

The 5th mission over Kassel is here.

There were 24 other missions.

Monopoly for POWs?

After Jim L’Esperance sent me yesterday this story about Monopoly for POWs, I checked on it.

Found on Snopes…

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape.

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America’s OSS) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.

As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:

1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set — by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.
The story wasn’t declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.

It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail’ Free’ card!

Origins:  

The gist of this account about maps (and other items useful for escape efforts) being smuggled to Allied POWs during World War II by cleverly hiding them in Monopoly game sets is true, although some of the finer details in this particular account may be inaccurate.

The general outline of the scheme to smuggle escape aids to POWs through specially manufactured Monopoly kits is recounted (among other places) in The Game Makers, a 2004 history of the Parker Brothers game company:

When allied airmen began to risk their lives flying missions over occupied Europe, Parker Brothers’ English partner found a way to use the Monopoly game to come to the aid of those who were captured by the Germans. The British War Office worked with a select group of Waddington staffers to modify Monopoly boards for insertion in games that the Red Cross would deliver to Allied prisoners of war. These men carved out precise depressions in the unfinished game boards and, before applying their labels, filled them with low-profile compasses, files, and maps that depicted escape routes from the prison camp where each game was to be sent. (The maps were printed on silk because silk did not rustle when opened. Waddington’s had perfected this process to such an extent that virtually all British flyers climbed into their warplanes with a Waddington’s map secreted in the heel of one of their boots.) Hidden among the games’ play money was real currency — German, Italian, or Austrian. It is not known how many airmen escaped thanks to these Monopoly games.

Regardless of when it may have been officially declassified, information about the rigged Monopoly kits was openly acknowledged and discussed long before 2007. A 1985 Associated Press article, for example, reported that:

Waddingtons, which received the license to distribute Monopoly in Britain in 1935 from Parker Brothers in the United States, got involved in aiding the prisoners of war because of its printing expertise. It printed maps for the military on durable silk.

Thousands of fliers who went on missions over German-occupied Europe had the maps sewn into their uniforms if they were shot down and captured.

Victor Watson, chairman of the firm, said Waddingtons had a secret department that put the maps, files and money in shallow recesses on the board under the paper face. Then MI-9, the division of Military Intelligence devoted to helping POWs escape, smuggled the sets into prison camps as recreational equipment.

Powell Davies, who was a 19-year-old flier when he was captured, said the prison escape committees would destroy the sets after removing the escape aids to keep the guards from figuring out what was going on.

Although the account claims “an estimated one-third [of escaped POWs] were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets,” both the Game Makers excerpt quoted above and Waddington’s chairman said the number of POWs who were actually aided by the smuggled game kits is unknown:

Maps, files and compasses were hidden in Monopoly sets and smuggled into World War II German prison camps to help British prisoners of war escape, the game’s manufacturer, the John Waddington company of Leeds, England, says. Monopoly boards were made with maps hidden in them showing “escape routes from the particular prison to which each game was sent,” chairman Victor Watson said. “Into the other side of the board was inserted a tiny compass and several fine-quality files.” The money piles were real money, with one piece of Monopoly money on the top and bottom of the pack. “We are not sure how many prisoners were able to escape by this method,” Watson said, but the company likes to think a few did.

A former archivist with John Waddington also pointed out some discrepancies in the account in response to a 2007 London Times recounting of it:

Sir, I write as the former archivist for John Waddington, the company which made Monopoly during the Second World War.

In his article about Monopoly, Ben Macintyre states that the special sets of Monopoly were sent to prison camps via the Red Cross. Waddingtons produced many escape aids which were sent to the Nazi prison camps, but these were always sent via private, often fictitious, organisations like the Licensed Victuallers Prisoner Relief Fund. No escape aids were enclosed in the Red Cross parcels, so that the Germans would have no justification for stopping these much needed parcels from reaching the prisoners.

It is untrue that safe houses were shown on the maps, as there was a virtual certainty that some of the maps would fall into German hands — the Germans were not fools when it came to tracking down prisoners’ ruses.

Jim L’Esperance’s Wartime Log

Jim L'Esperance 001This was given to Jim L’Esperance by the Red Cross.

Jim L'Esperance 003

There was a letter sent with the Wartime Log.

Jim L'Esperance 010 (2)Life was very harsh for POWs in Marlag und Milag Nord. Food was scarce as well as heating.

Jim L’Esperance survived the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan.

He came close to being rescued by HMCS Haida.

Athabaskan sinking 1944taken from the book Unlucky Lady

That was not meant to be…

Haida with survivorsThe lucky few rescued
(taken from the book Unlucky Lady)

Jim L’Esperance used his Wartime Log to document his stay at Marlag und Milag Nord.

You can watch videos made in 1945 when the prisoners were liberated from the prison camp.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3A

Part 3B

Every Monday I will post what Jim L’Esperance pasted in his Wartime Log leading us to April 29, 2014, 70 years after the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan.

cover page 1

Here is a preview of what I will post.

 

Jim L'Esperance 006Jim L'Esperance 008Jim L'Esperance 009Jim L'Esperance 007Jim L'Esperance 010Jim L'Esperance 011Jim L'Esperance 012Jim L'Esperance 013Jim L'Esperance 014Jim L'Esperance 017Jim L'Esperance 019Jim L'Esperance 015Jim L'Esperance 020Jim L'Esperance 021Jim L'Esperance 022Jim L'Esperance 023Jim L'Esperance 024

I started researching the sinking of the S.S. Scillin in 1992

This is taken from this Website.

I started researching the sinking of the S.S. Scillin in 1992 when I first discovered my Father had died on the ship;14/11/42. Sunk by the P212, a British submarine. None of my family ever knew the circumstances of his death.

I set about creating a casualty list using the C.W.G. Commissions Registers for the Memorial at El Alamein, and later finding a few Naval Casualties to add to what is the most accurate list available.

Over the past 12 years I have given information about P.O.W. Casualties at sea to about 20 Regiments, including the Kings Own.

814 P.O.W. were aboard the ship, a Naval guncrew to man the 120mm and Lt A.A.Guns plus 30 Italian Guards. Not the 200 stated. This was revealed in an Ultra decrypted signal 13/11/42, the day she left Tripoli.

Whilst the ship was being loaded at the Spanish Quay in Tripoli Harbour Captain Gilbert R.A.M.C. was constantly protesting about the numbers being boarded as the ship was only 1,600Tons. When 814 P.O.W. were aboard the remaining 195 were sent along the Quay to board a later ship. At no time were they aboard the Scillin, this information comes from 3 men who were stopped from boarding her. I have also examined Capt (Major) Gilberts personal papers during a visit to New Zealand 4 years ago.

Ultra Intelligence forecast the sailing of the ship and gave its course and timings along that course in great detail, even amending the timings when the ship sailed 3 hours late. All the relevant signals are in my possession. When she sailed she was flying the Italian Flag.

Information about the “embarkation Roll” which includes the 814 plus the 195 who didn’t board, was given to the M.O.D. by the Italians in 1944. For some reason the circumstances of death were only given to the most persistant families.

No reason has ever been given for witholding this information.

In 1998 I arranged to have the ashes of a recently deceased Kings Own Scillin survivor to be taken to Tunisia and scattered over the wreck. Which they duly were. The date; 14/11/98, 56 years to the day that the ship was sent to the bottom.

The Scillin was not the only such loss of Allied P.O.W., 5 other ships were attacked in the preceeding 11 months with the loss of over 2,000. Ultra Intelligence had given advance knowledge of the P.O.W. Movement in all cases.

This information was originally researched by Prof. Alberto Santoni, an Italian Naval Historian almost 20 years ago. It is only due to his work that I know the full story of my Fathers death and of P.O.W. losses in the Mediterranean.

His findings have been published in Italian and German Languages but not in English.

At the National Memorial Arboretum there is now a Memorial Plaque to the P.O.W. lost at sea on;

– Sebastiano Venier(Jason) 9/12/41
– Ariosto 15/2/42
– Tembien 27/2/42
– Nino Bixio 17/8/42
– Loreto 13/10/42
– and the Scillin 14/11/42

In search of Charles Dolden

Charles Dolden was the prisoner of war who gave this drawing to Jim L’Esperance.

He was a sailor on HMS Sahib.

Jim L'Esperance 016

Charles DoldenMay we meet again Jimmy under better conditions.
Chas. Dolden

This drawing is part of many more found in Jim L’Esperance’s Wartime Log.

Jim L'Esperance 001It was given to him by the Red Cross.

Jim L'Esperance 010 (2)Jim L’Esperance used it to past inside mementoes when he was a prisoner in the Marlag und Milag Nord prison camp.

Excerpt

Marlag and Milag Nord

Marlag, the Royal Navy camp, was divided into two compounds; “O” housed officers and their orderlies, while “M” held NCOs and ratings. The majority of prisoners were British, but there were also small numbers of other Allied nationalities.[4] In late 1942 all the ratings were sent to Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf and assigned to Arbeitskommando (“Work details”), and “M” housed only NCOs.[5]

Milag (Marineinterniertenlager, “Marine internment camp”), the Merchant Navy camp, was 300 m (980 ft) to the east of Marlag. This also divided into two separate compounds for officers and men. The area in between contained the guard house, a prison block, fuel bunker, and the camp hospital.[4]

Just outside of the gates of Milag was the Kommandantur (“Headquarters”) and accommodation for the guards. In between the camps there was a large shower block which was used by men of both camps.[4]

Each camp contained a number of single-story wooden huts; 29 in Marlag and 36 in Milag. Most of them were barracks, while the others contained kitchens, dining rooms, washrooms, guard barracks, storehouses, a post office, and other administrative buildings. The barracks were divided into rooms each accommodating 14 to 18 men who slept in two and three-tiered bunks.[6]

The POWs occupied themselves in various ways. There was a camp theatre in Marlag and the POWs performed concerts and plays. Each camp had its own sports field, and there was also a library with around 3,000 books. Prisoners ran courses in languages and mathematics, as well as commercial, vocational, economic, and scientific subjects. Sports equipment and textbooks were obtained from the Red Cross and YMCA. POWs were allowed to send two letters and four postcards each month. There were no restrictions on the number of letters a POW could receive. Naturally all incoming and outgoing mail was censored.[6] A popular diversion was provided by the “Milag Jockey Club” which held race meetings every Saturday evening. The “horses” were wooden models that raced on a 36-foot (11 m) track, controlled by dice. The POW bet on the races, and money was raised and donated to the Red Cross.[7][8]

Under normal conditions the camps had a capacity of 5,300. According to official figures in April 1944 there were 4,268 men held there. Initially the camp was guarded by Naval troops. Later they were replaced by Army reservists.[6]

The liberation of the camp on You Tube.

Part one.

Part two.

Part three A

Part three B

If you are related to Charles Dolden, you can contact me using this contact form.

HMS Sahib (P212)

Click here.

HMS_SahibHMS Sahib

Excerpt

On April 16, 1943, she attacked and sank the merchant ship Galiolo, two miles off Capo di Milazzo. After firing, the Sahib almost broke the surface, which was noticed by an aircraft, which dropped a bomb but to no effect. The torpedo boat Climene began a heavy depth charge attack resulting in the submarine’s pressure hull being holed at the aft ends. Unable to repair the damage, the ship was abandoned. She surfaced and was attacked by the aircraft. Sahib was scuttled to prevent her capture. One of the crew was wounded and died on 3 May 1943.[2]

I did not know about the sinking of HMS Sahib nor did I know about the sinking of the HMCS Athabaskan when my wife’s uncle told us he was a stoker aboard that destroyer on April 29th, 1944.

Since 2009, I have been writing about some forgotten stories about WWII. That’s the mission I want to fulfill.

This is the start of a series of articles about people I have never met, but who led me in a way to HMS Sahib.

Jim alone

Jim L’Esperance’s son sent me a document with many drawings.

This one caught my attention.

Jim L'Esperance 016There is a little known story about HMS Sahib sunk on April 24, 1943.

PENFOLD Harry, Gunner 1099081

68th Medium Regiment , Royal Artillery
Killed in Action 14 November 1942 aged 27.

PENFOLDHarryHarry Penfold

Excerpt

Harry, who was unmarried, enlisted on 14 November 1940. Initially he was posted to 16th Field Training Regiment but later was posted to 72nd Regiment and from there to 68th Medium Regiment Serving in the Middle East from 23 April 1941. He was taken as a Prisoner of War by the Italians from 20 June 1942 and was last known to be in Campo 154 in Benghazi prior to embarkation on the SS Scillin. This Italian cargo/passenger ship was en route from Tripoli to Sicily with 814 Commonwealth prisoners of war on board, a naval gun crew and 30 Italian guards when on 14 November 1942 it was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Sahib (Captain Lt. John Bromage) 10 miles north of Cape Milazzo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

More information on this Website.

Excerpt

The Italians were not fussy about how they transported prisoners from Libya to Italy. Often tramp steamers, which transported coal, munitions and war materials to Tripoli, were used to take live cargoes on the return trip. On these occasions, little regard was shown for the comfort of or safety of the Prisoners of War, who were treated little better than animals. So it was with both those on The Scillin and, later, those of us on the final convoy to leave Tripoli.

How very, very, fortunate I was not to have remained with the main body of prisoners who, on the 15th November, 1942, were taken to the Spanish Mole at Tripoli Harbour… On arrival they saw several ships at berth by the quay. One of these was a small coal-burning steamer of only 1,600 tons. This was the SS Scillin. After being kept standing on the quay for several hours, the prisoners were ordered to board the Scillin.

Once on the deck, they were directed to the main hold from where two ladders led down into the dark. The hold was really only large enough to take about 300 men, if they were to be allowed to lie down during the three days of travel. But this did not deter the Italians. Although Captain Gilbert protested, more and more men were sent down the ladders. When 810 prisoners had been loaded, a halt was called. The men were then so tightly packed that no one could lie down…

The boat finally sailed on the evening of 15th November. Either that night or shortly afterwards, the Scillin was attacked by a British submarine at about 20:30 hours. At that time Captain Gilbert was on deck treating some fifteen of the most seriously ill prisoners. Suddenly, out of the darkness, came a shell, which burst on the superstructure of the cargo boat. A second shell caused casualties. Then there was a violent explosion as a torpedo struck the Scillin in the hold carrying the prisoners. All on deck were thrown into the sea. Those below had no chance at all to escape. Captain Gilbert (the medical officer), Staff Sergeant Regester (a South African) and others were in the water for several minutes. The boat had sunk.

Then the submarine, HMS Sahib or P212, came out of the darkness and began to pick up survivors. Reports from the submarine crew tell a little of what happened then. The captain, Lieutenant Bromage, and his men were astonished and deeply shocked to find so many men in the water. One crew member is said to have shouted,Any Englishmen in the water? Back came the reply, Nae, but there is a Scotsman The rescue went on for about half an hour before the Sahib was forced to retreat as an escort vessel approached. During that time 26 British and 35 Italians were rescued. Bromage and his crew were most upset by what had happened. However, the Scillin had been unmarked, in total darkness and had been carrying enemy materials.”

Later the Captain was absolved from all blame (one of the widows known to my mother (widow of Bert Dummott) said Not by me)