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OUR TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Tribute to the Merchant Seamen of World War Two Maureen Venzi's page in tribute to the men and ships of the Allied Merchant Navy. Part 2 is Maureen's tribute to her late father, Don Owens, who served aboard the CPR's Empress of Japan/Scotland during the war.

The Role of the CPR Ships in WWII Maureen's page in tribute to the men and ships of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Part One covers 1939 to 1941 and includes the Empress of Australia, Beaverburn, Niagara, Aorangi, Empress of Britain, Beaverford, HMS Fofar ex-Montrose, Beaverbrae,Beaverdale and Beaverhill. Part Two covers 1942 to 1945 and includes the Empress of Asia, Princess Marguerite, Duchess of Atholl, Empress of Canada, Duchess of York and Empress of Russia.

CPR Ships: A Partial List This page contains a list, compiled by Maureen, of some of the CPR's best-known ships.




Stories of a Merchant Sailor, Part 1: The Peggy This is the first story written by British Merchant Navy veteran, Gordon Sollors, who went to sea at the age of 14 in 1942. In this delightful story Gordon recounts his experiences as the ship's "Peggy" aboard the tanker MV British Faith.

Stories of a Merchant Sailor, Part 2: Christmas in America This is the second of Gordon's stories and in it he tells about his memorable Christmas of 1942.

Stories of a Merchant Sailor, Part 3: Steering Lessons In this, the third of Gordon's fascinating stories, he describes what it was like to be a young seaman at the helm of a huge merchant ship.

My First Trip to Sea In this multi-chaptered story Gordon writes about his experiences aboard the Orient Line troopship SS Orion.

My Last Wartime Voyage In this multi-chaptered story Gordon writes about his experiences aboard the little Maltese cargo ship SS Marvia.

NB: Gordon Sollors has also written a fascinating memoir about the Training Ship Formidable. Please go to the Training Ships website to read "Lights Out, No Talking".




Voyage of a Merchant Sailor This is the introductory page of the late Canadian Merchant Navy veteran, Chuck Betsworth. It begins the tale of Chuck's voyage aboard the SS Sapperton Park from Vancouver, B.C. to London, England, during the last months of the war in Europe.

Voyage of a Merchant Sailor, Part 2 This page continues the story of Chuck's voyage to London and features photographs which he took during his crossing of the Atlantic.

Voyage of a Merchant Sailor, Part 3: Epilogue This page is about Chuck's post-war experiences and the role which he and his Merchant Navy friends played in making sure that the WWII Merchant Navy veterans are not forgotten.

City of Alberni: Canada's Forgotten Schooner This page, inspired by Chuck's interest in the five-masted schooner, City of Alberni, tells of the sailing ship's 1941 voyage from Vancouver, B.C. to Sydney, Australia and Samoa.

City of Alberni: Canada's Forgotten Schooner, Part 2 This page continues the story of the schooner City of Alberni and describes her attempt to make an incredibly difficult voyage around Cape Horn at the end of 1942 and beginning of 1943. Sources used are listed at the end of the page.

Chuck's Hobbies: A Celebration of Ships This page, inspired by Chuck's maritime hobbies, features his beautiful model of the Finnish 4-masted barque, Herzogin Cecilie, and his painting of the New Zealand passenger liner, Awatea.

Chuck's Hobbies: A Celebration of Ships, Part 2 This page featuring Chuck's painting of the post-war liner Corinthic, has additional information on other vessels which serviced Australia and New Zealand, including the doomed White Star liner, SS Ceramic.




Tales of a "Vindi Boy", Part One: Karachi Rescue This is the first story written by British Merchant Navy veteran, Dennis M. Crosby, who went to sea at the age of 16 after graduating from the British Training Ship Vindicatrix. In this tale Dennis recounts his adventures aboard his first ship, the SS Samlorian. Dennis explains how he became a Merchant Seaman in his "Forward", added in October 2001.

Tales of a "Vindi Boy", Part Two: Ghost Ship In this story Dennis describes some very eerie happenings which took place shortly after the war aboard the SS Hazelbank.

Tales of a "Vindi Boy", Part Three: Memories of the MV Pontfield In this story Dennis remembers some more frightening incidents which occurred while he was working on an ocean-going tanker, the MV Pontfield.

Tales of a "Vindi Boy", Part Four: Polar Maid Adventure In this tale Dennis tells about a fascinating voyage which he made to the Persian Gulf, South Africa, the remote whaling outpost of South Georgia and Argentina.

Tales of a "Vindi Boy", Part Five: From Africa to Canada In this story Dennis looks back on all the interesting things which happened in his life after he left the sea.

Tales of a "Vindi Boy": Epilogue This page features a powerful letter which Dennis wrote in February 2000 to the Reader' s Digest Association in London, England, on behalf of British Merchant Navy veterans. An additional story, "My Search for Stuart", was added in December 2001.




The First and Last Voyage of the Fort Crevier In these pages former British Royal Navy veteran, John Garside, tells the fascinating story of his adventures as a young DEMS Gunner aboard the Canadian-built merchant ship, the Fort Crevier. John was an eye-witness to the horrendous explosion of the Fort Stikine at Bombay Harbour on April 14th, 1944. His story is in three parts with Part 1 covering North America, Part 2 covering Gibraltar to Karachi and Part 3 covering Bombay. The expanded Epilogue now features documents which John received from the family of Ft. Crevier's Third Engineer John Walsh, who was killed in the Bombay Explosion. An additional page featuring Ships Lost in the Bombay Explosion is under construction.




Jim McWilliam's Homepage British Merchant Navy veteran Jim McWilliams was only 16 years old when he first went to sea in 1942. He served aboard the troopships Almanzora and Winchester Castle and the tanker British Honour. This page features Jim's beautiful poem, "The Callow Lad", in which which he remembers those long-ago days.




The Second "Happy Time": The Loss of the Putney Hill On this page British Merchant Navy veteran Alan Shard writes about the sinking of his first ship, MV Putney Hill. She was sunk by U203 500 hundred miles from Puerto Rico in June 1942 and her survivors were faced with a gruelling 9 day ordeal at sea before they were rescued.




The Sinking of the SS Veerhaven British Merchant Navy veteran Charlie Mountain (1924-2001) served on a great variety of Dutch ships during WWII. On this page Charlie tells about the SS Veerhaven which was sunk by the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci. As well as a separate Epilogue, Charlie's pages include accompanying info on the Dutch ships MV Woensdrecht, SS Amsterdam, and MV Prins Willem III, and a list of Ships Attacked by the Submarine Da Vinci.




Ian Ferguson's Homepage, Part One: Albertolite. In this section of his homepage British Merchant Seaman Veteran Ian Ferguson, who went to sea at 16 years of age in 1941, pays tribute to and recalls his 1942 adventures aboard the Imperial Oil tanker, SS Albertolite. In Part Two: Hedgehog Ian writes about his father, W.L.G. Ferguson, and the major role he played in the development of the Allied anti-submarine weapon, Hedgehog.




Ray Morton's Homepage, Part One: My Memories of "Operation Pedestal" and the Tanker Ohio. On this page British Merchant Navy Veteran Ray Morton writes about his incredible adventures during "Operation Pedestal", the Relief of Malta, when he was a crew member of the fabled oil tanker, SS Ohio . In Part Two: "Believe It, Or Not Ray tells about an amazing event which happened after Operation Pedestal.




D.E.M.S.: Naval Gunners in Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS) This page is a copy of the informative paper written by Canadian DEMS Gunner Veteran Max Reid and presented to the August 2001 meeting of the DEMS Branch, Royal Canadian Naval Association (RCNA), in Barrie, Ontario. The purpose of this paper is to ensure that the important role played by the DEMS Gunners, their ships, and the Merchant Seamen who served alongside them in WWII is better recognized.




Remembering HMCS Bras d'Or This page written by Bill Lavery and Maureen Venzi is a tribute to one of the Canadian naval vessels which helped protect merchant shipping in home waters, the minesweeper HMCS Bras d'Or . Bill's uncle, Engineer Lieutenant Malcolm Cumming, and all members of the little vessel's gallant crew lost their lives when Bras d'Or foundered in the icy St. Lawrence on October 19th, 1940.




Quarantined With Smallpox In this story Merchant Navy Veteran Hamor Gardner writes about the tragic death of his young shipmate Joe McVeigh, who died of smallpox in 1945 when they were both serving aboard the SS Noranda Park. November 2003: The Second World War Experience Centre has uploaded an abridged version of Hamor's fascinating WWII memoir East of Suez which covers his time aboard the SS Noranda Park and the SS Tweedsmuir Park. To read the Centre's online version of East of Suez, Please Click Here.




Simon Cusen's Letters These letters by Simon Cusens of Malta detail the organisation of the "Operation Pedestal" 60th Anniversary Reunion, held September-October 2002 in Valletta. Part Two and Part Three consist of Simon's letters following the 2002 Reunion. For more memories of the 2002 Reunion please visit Danny O'Mara's website Malta Convoy August 1942.




Final Photos of HMCS Cape Breton On October 26th, 2001 Canada's last remaining "10,000-tonner" HMCS Cape Breton (ex- HMS Flamborough Head) was sunk as an artificial reef. To view Bob and Anne Wilson's newspaper clippings and photos of the event Please Click Here for Part 1 and return to this page for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.






Please Note:
Canadian Merchant Navy Veteran Martin Walsh has written a fascinating memoir about his wartime experiences entitled The Polish Experience. (2002) In his memoir Martin writes about his 1943 adventures aboard the Polish Merchant Navy vessel SS Narvik, celebrated rescuer of the SS Orcades survivors in October 1942. At Avola, Sicily on 14 July 1943, while Narvik was berthed next to the burnt-out hull of the Dutch merchantman SS Baarn, Martin witnessed the horrific bombing of the American Liberty Ship SS Timothy Pickering. After his service aboard Narvik, Martin made the long return voyage to North America aboard another Polish ship which also gave exemplary wartime service, the SS Baltic. To obtain a free copy of The Polish Experience, please write to Martin Walsh directly at budwalsh@cogeco.ca. new Martin has also written a second article, "The North Atlantic in 1944" which was published in the Summer 2003 issue of the CMNVA's Red Duster. To obtain a copy of this article which features specific information on Whiteshell Park, Detonia Park, Gatineau Park, Point Pleasant Park and Jasper Park, please contact Martin at the above e-mail address.


OUR LINKS and SOURCES Pages


Allied Merchant Navy LINKS At present these pages of general Merchant Navy/WWII links are divided into Part One (Canadian-based Sites), Part Two (British-based sites), and Part Three (Australian, Norwegian, Icelandic, and American-based sites).

Allied Merchant Navy SOURCES This page features a variety of books and reference material.

CPR Ships LINKS This page lists links which are more specific to the CPR ships and other passenger liners.

CPR Ships SOURCES This page lists sources which are also more specific to the CPR ships and other passenger liners.

Chuck's Maritime LINKS and SOURCES This page provides a listing of some of Chuck Betsworth's favourite books and web links. It features information on some of the great sailing ships of the past along with some of the other ships written about in Chuck's pages.




For specific questions, we recommend the Mercantile Marine Discussion Forum. Please Click Here or on the image below.

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To return to this Table of Contents at any time, just click on the TABLE of CONTENTS link located at the end of each story. To return to the INDEX PAGE at any time click on the INDEX PAGE icon located at the top and bottom of each page.





This page has been written by Maureen Venzi and it is part of the Allied Merchant Navy of WWII website.