Lifeboat



23 Days in a Lifeboat







April 11: Ship hit at 5 p.m. Second explosion 9:40 p.m. Rough and
large, choppy sea. Wind northeasterly all night.

April 12: Lost sea anchor 11 a.m. Rig up new one and put over side
12:05. Mounting sea. Sea anchor out all night. Men living on one
cracker, two ounces water.

April 13. 6:00 a.m. Hoist sails. 6:30 a.m. Take sails down. Sea too
rough. Put sea anchor out again. Boys feeling fair. Still living on
two crackers, four ounces water. Found out had no flares. Cans
empty. No chocolate in food containers. Drifting southwesterly. Out
48 hours.

April 14. 5:30 a.m. hoist sail, heading south. Wind NNE. Medium sea
and swell. Men living on two crackers, four ounces water. Sun came
out for first time today. 9:45 a.m., chop sail. Sea too large. Put
out sea anchor. Wind force 6. Lost sea anchor at 6:53 p.m. Had to
rig up another from two oars. 9:45 p.m. cleared up a little. Hoisted
sail. Head south. Wind during night. All men have wet clothes now
four days.

April 15. Day started clear. Sea moderate with westerly winds. Force
3. 7 a.m. set sail heading south by east. North wind. Sun out again
and feels good. 11:30 pm. wind died down. Everything calm, put out
oars. 3 p.m. wind sprung up from northwest. Force 3. Put up sail and
made good time. Raining. Everything wet.

Friday. April 16. Raining. All calm. Try to catch water. No luck.
Went to three ounces of water, two crackers and pemmican also one
malt milk tablet. 12 noon approximately 600 miles from coast. Try
fishing. No luck. Fish all around. Won't bite. Air stirring a
little. 5 pm. Breeze freshing to NNE. Making a little time. Sun out.
Maybe we'll dry out. Everyone's clothes damp. Getting on everyone's
nerves. All snapping at one another. Set regular watches. Five men
to watch. 5:30 a.m. Men talking of food and water and what they like
to have. Also talking of religion. Rain during night. Try to catch
water. No luck.

Saturday. April 17. Eight miles south of yesterday's position. Calm
sea. Air stirring slightly. Might have to row. Back to two ounces of
water. Havn't seen a thing in six days now. 10 pm started to row.
Men got extra two ounces of water. 11 pm wind freshing to
northwesterly. Quit rowing. Getting small sea. Up speed. Continued
sailing all night on easterly course.

Palm Sunday. Clear NWly breeze. Continued sailing easterly course.
Men got four ounces of water but not eating much. 12 N. Still
sailing easterly course. Small following sea. Making good time. 3 pm
gave men extra two ounces water. Wind change to westerly. Have not
see a thing yet. Men feeling pretty good. Doing a little singing.
Now and then a man is a little seasick. Have not eaten since in
boat. Given extra two ounces of water. First ass't, and lieutenant
pretty sick. Given extra water. Deck cadet feet swelling. Can't get
in shoes. Clothing starting to dry out a little now, but with night
everything wet and cold again. 11 pm continued on easterly course. 4
am rain squalls. Still heading easterly. Wind westerly. Following
small sea.

Monday, April 19, Fresh westerly breeze. Force 3. Large following
sea. Occasional squalls. Men growling now and then. Sea getting
worse. Shipping water. 8 pm Took in sail. Wind change to northerly.
Can only make leeway. 12 M. Cold and damp. Full moon. Jib up only
makes leeway. Saw few birds today. Men got 4 ounces water. Must have
450 miles to go.

Tuesday, April 20. Bob has birthday. 27 years old today. Gave men
six ounces of water. 6 pm moderate northerly sea and swell. Put up
main sail. Can't seem to get clothes dry and makes men cold and
snappy. Can't get civil answer anymore. 8 pm small northerly Sea and
swell heading easterly. Second assistant pretty sick. Made 75 miles
today.

Wednesday, April 21. Clear and calm. Wind mod. northerly. Heading
southeasterly. Making fair time. App 400 miles to go. 6 pm. Clear,
full moon. Occasional rain squalls. Making fair time.

Thursday, April 22. 6 am clear and bright. NW wind and mod. sea.
Quite a sharp current southerly. Men singing a little and hoping to
be picked up soon. 12 M. Wind NE and mod sea. Cold damp. Overcast.

Friday, April 23. Overcast. Beam sea. Fresh NE breeze. Not making
any time. Men pray now before breakfast and after supper. Not a
thing sighted as yet. Still have hope. Body starting to ache. Damp
clothing. Can't keep them dry.

Saturday, April 24. Overcast and cloudy. Cold NE winds. Heading
south. Tide to west. Large, rough, choppy, quarter seas. Shipping
sea occasionally. Must bale frequently. Everybody's nerves on edge.
Still living on six ounces of water, crackers and pemmican. Now and
then men will talk of home and what they would like to be doing or
different food and wine. Worst part is you can't lay out straight.
Always cramped up. No wonder we ache.

Easter Sunday, April 25. First time and hope it is the last I ever
spend Easter in a life boat. Not sure of your position or anything.
Day started clear. Put up sail. Wind from east, force 3. Large
swell. Shipping water occasionally. Heading south. 12 noon. Men
got treat. Half can of pemmican, ten ounces water. Nothing in sight.
Still have hope.                    

Monday, April 26. Heading south. Drift to west. Large mountain sea 
and swells. 7 am lower sail. Shipping too much water. Drifting to
west. 12 N wind much same. Hoist sail, head south again. Can't seem
to get any easting at all. Dear God, how we pray for a ship to pick
us up or for the sight of land. Men starting to lose hope now.
Second assistant talking out of his head regularly now. Cut down on
rations. Have enough to last 11 days reduced ration. Cold and damp.
Can't seem to get warm. Most of men joints swelling. Rough beam sea
all night. Force 3.

Tuesday, April 27. High mountainous beam sea. Wind northeasterly.
Force 4. Shipping water. Temperature 72 degrees. Everything damp. 12
N. Cut down on rations again. Can't see anything. Must make food and
water last. Try fishing. Nothing bites. Have no bait. Let's hope we
see something soon. Men's feet swelling at joints and every word a
complaint. Hoping to hit mainland or Cape Verde Islands. Strong
westerly winds and sea. Small swell. Making fair time. Heading SE.

Wednesday, April 28. Daybreak clear. Nothing in sight. Hurley
thought saw submarine but did not surface. Wind NE. Force 2. Small
swell. Heading SE. Must have app. 150 miles to mainland. Taking one
box crackers, two cans pemmican, eight ounces water for 11 men now.
Making mash. Lets hope what we have left lasts till picked up.

Thursday, April 29. Daybreak clear. Had prayer and breakfast. Small
sea. Easterly swell. Wind NE heading SE. Made app. 50 miles
yesterday. Men starting to break. Sure wish I was in my ap't, with
my wife and baby. Hope I can keep up my courage and stop thinking of
home too much. Made fair time last night.

Friday, April 30. Daybreak clear. Plenty of hope left yet. Cut down
to one can of pemmican, one box of crackers, eight ounces of water.
Expect to see land sometime this week yet. Wind from E. Heading
SE, small sea and swell. 12 N Took sight for latitude. Everything
looks all right. About 75 miles to go if calculations right. Bound
to hit coast this week. Wind change NEly. Second assistant very low.
Small sea and swell.

Saturday, May 1. Second assistant passed away during night. Gave
burial at sea this morning 7:20 am. Men feel bad. 12 N went in
swimming for a bath. Water felt good. Wind force 3. Making good
time.

Sunday, May 2. Daybreak cloudy. Wind force 2. Small sea and swell.
Force 1, making little headway. 11:25 a.m. sighted plane. Sent out
smoke bomb. Think we were seen. Sure felt good after 21 days to see
something. Will know within 24 hours whether we were or not. If not,
expect to see land tomorrow if calculations right. Wind from E.
Making little headway.

Monday, May 3. Daybreak clear and calm. Drift SW. Losing quite a bit
of distance covered. Small sea and swell. Sight seven whales at
10:05 am. Close enough we could have hit them with a stone. Sighted
raft at noon. Boarded it to look for food and water. No luck. Found
some marine growth so ate that. No sign of life yet. Looks like
plane did not see us yesterday.

Tuesday May 4 (position 21 degrees 55 minutes north. 17 degrees, ten
minutes west). Sighted smoke on horizon, but too far away to signal.
Makes one feel low to see help so near yet so far. Daybreak clear.
Wind strong NE. Heading SEly. Sighted fishing vessel 10 pm. Sent up
flare. They sighted us and picked us up. We were 30 miles from
African coast. Fed us and wined us in style. Now heading for Lisbon.
Will be there in five days. Treat us like gentlemen. Gave us clothes
and washed ours. Fed us again, Gave up their bunks so we may sleep.
They keep feeding us everytime we open our eyes. They really are
wonderful people. They just can't seem to do enough for us.

Wednesday, May 5. Aboard the Albufeira. Daybreak clear. Making ten
knots. Had fish for breakfast and soup and wine. Then a nap. Feel
like a million. Now supper. Cabbage and beef noodle soup, beef and
potatoes. Abeam Canary Islands now. Only three days to Lisbon. Had
spot of tea before going to sleep. These men give you their bunks
and sleep on deck. Too bad there is nothing we can do in return.

Friday, May 7. Breakfast coffee and sea biscuit. Had bath. Dinner
fried fish and potatoes bread and wine. Supper fish chowder and
rice, baked fish wine and bread. Tea before retiring. Eat, sleep.

Saturday May 8. 4 pm Casablanca abeam. 8 pm today ends clear.

Sunday, May 9. Passed Cabo de Sae Vicente.

Monday, May 10. Passed pilot boat at mouth of Tagus River and
proceeded up river to Lisbon where we disembarked at the pier about
5 am amid many officials, police and a large crowd. After clearance
with local officials proceeded at once to the British Hospital.



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