© 2021 Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland & Labrador Inc.
Reading: Michael Crummey
Witness statement by William Currie:
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland & Labrador, file 262
William Currie was an Assistant Steward on S.S. Caribou when it sank in 1942. Here is a transcript of a portion of the statement he gave to Newfoundland Ranger Sgt. Forward in Port aux Basques on October 28, 1942.
William Currie was an Assistant Steward aboard S.S. Caribou. This is part of his statement to the Newfoundland Rangers after the sinking:
“I went to sleep about ten minutes after I went to bed. I knew nothing more until I was awakened suddenly by what sounded like a heavy explosion. I jumped out of bed with the feeling that the Caribou was torpedoed. As I reached the deck, I could hear screeching of women and children and water beating over the bow of the ship.
“We went to No. 5 lifeboat and it was filled with men: Army, Navy and Air Force personnel. The boat was still in the davits. We asked them to get out of the boat until we could get it overboard but they refused. The entire body of them was confused and excited, and we were unable to get them to reason at all.
“I looked up forward at this time and the top of the smokestack was touching the water. I then jumped to the lower deck and walked directly aft and jumped over the stern of the ship. When I came to the surface after diving over the Caribou‘s stern, I could no longer see the ship.
“I swam away from the ship and seeing a submerged lifeboat, I swam towards it and got on board. Four other men swam to this boat and got on board at the same time as I. It turned out that the stern was gone out of this lifeboat. There was one pair of oars in the lifeboat and we paddled to a raft, which we could see in the distance.
“From the time I got on the raft for about fifteen minutes afterwards I could hear screeching coming over the water. The raft on which I was met up with two other rafts loaded with people, and the three rafts drifted together until the minesweeper picked us up. At about 7 or 7:30 am, a Canadian minesweeper appeared on the scene and took us off the raft.”
Read by Michael Crummey