- Contributed by
- West Sussex Library Service
- People in story:
- Rhoda Macey
- Location of story:
- North Atlantic
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 September 2005
After 4 years evacuation to Canada, my mother wished me to return to England in 1944. In July I travelled to New York to become a passenger in 1 of the 2 civilian ships in a convoy of 100 ships bringing planes, troops and other equipment for the fighting forces. Each line of 10 ships was given a number and our ship was the first in line 7 therefore no. 71. The ship was divided into dormitories and at all times passengers had to carry their life jackets, as the convoy was particularly vulnerable to the attention of U boats.
One morning we awoke to silence. The regular thud of the engines had ceased and on rushing up to the deck, no ships were to be seen! The breakdown of the engine made us a sitting duck. The only other vessel we saw that day was one of the escorting corvettes who circled to assess the situation. Eventually the repairs were completed and the engine was put under severe strain as we caught up with the convoy to regain our position.
It was a day or two later that an order was made for the convoy to undergo gun practice. In the hospital was a lady who wished to return to her hometown to live out her remaining years. As the salvos reverberated around the convoy she was convinced that an attack was in progress and her heart failed. The damaged parts of the engine aided her consequent ceremony of committal to the sea that we witnessed. The following line of ships all deviated from their course in deference to the deceased.
On the last leg of the journey to Liverpool we were protected by the R.A.F. who flew over the convoy and ensured our safe arrival.
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