You said that you were submarined? Yes, we was into St. John's for salt and a navy boat come along and said the submarines was about and we should keep to the deep water. And we did so but the next day, it was nice and fine like today, and the watch called out that he’d seen something ahead of us. So the captain come up on deck with his spyglass in his hand and he sees this thing, still a long ways off but getting closer.
“It looks wery suspicious to me”, he said, “we’ll tack”. And we did so but we hadn’t got very far before the thing come alongside of us. It was so close you could have laid a boat's oar from our vessel onto it.
Ten minutes. Ten minutes he give us to leave the ship. Now that ain't wery long and the first dory we fired out she went bottom up and we had to cut her clear. We circled around like sheep and then the captain of the submarine (he spoke good English) asked whichever lifeboat (I always remember that-- he called them lifeboats) the captain was in should come aboard. So they went aboard the submarine and they treated them to some kind of liquor.
They went back and forth to the schooner a number of times, took food, flour and the men's sea chests. The last trip they made they must have had a bomb. They hung it overboard until it was amidships, abaft the main rigging. It must have been timed and when it exploded it took half the bottom out of her. She never rolled over or nothing, but just settled away and the last thing we saw as she went under was the top of her topmost. It didn’t look wery good. Then we started to row and that night a Danish freighter picked us up and took us in to St. John's. How did I feel about the Germans? Well, Simon, I thought they’d used us pretty good. They had the equipment and we had nothing, nothing in this world, to defend ourselves with
Yes, we did get something. Two years later we got paid for the loss of our chests but nothing for the fish. Never a cent for the fish.
Told to Simon Watts by Kenny Reinhardt, winter of 1968