Invasion of Southern Europe

On to the Next Battlefront

“Now, from our own firing of the ship, the ship was baked.”

"We went back out to the transport area, and we stayed there for three days in the off chance we might be needed again, in case there was a retreat or something of that nature. And at the end of three days they said our services were no longer needed, and we returned to the United Kingdom. Now, from our own firing of the ship, the ship was baked. The electrical system was burned out. The paint was gone. It’s a riveted ship, and the rivets had come apart. It was leaking badly. I mean, it was a wreck. Not that the enemy had done anything to us, but just the sheer firing this many shells in such a short time had done a terrible job on the ship. So back to England we go, and they put us right in the dry dock. What? What are they doing this for? The invasion’s over. Why are we going to the dry dock? We’re done. They fixed the ship as quickly as they could. We put to sea, and we went to Africa, to Mers-el-Kébir in Africa [Algeria]. We went from there up to Naples, from Naples to Corsica, and from Corsica we went on the invasion of southern France. And we did approximately the same thing. It was not the magnitude of, you know, the previous one, but it was approximately the same thing.

By now, the ship is bad. I mean, it’s real bad. We’re taking water faster than the bilge pumps can handle it. And the ship is sinking. I mean, as I say, it’s nice but we had nothing to do with it. We never were shot at by the enemy, but still we’re sinking. So we abandoned it."