John Alex McNeil
Merchant Navy. Canadian
Roster information listed for John Alex McNeil
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Torvanger||Steam merchant||Galley Boy||23 Jun 1942||U-84|
Memories from his son: My father was born in 1915 and served as a merchant seaman. He would often tell me his story how in June 23, 1942 he was peeling potatoes in the galley and everything around him blew apart. When he woke he was floating in the water and he was being pulled into a life raft by his shipmates. He was badly burned, his cloths had melted onto his skin and he was in a lot of pain. He often told us how after the sinking of his ship the u-boat who sunk them surfaced. He stated how some of the German crew and a man who identified himself as the captain (and who spoke very good English) came on deck of the U-boat. The Captain asked those who were injured if they wanted to come with them for medical help and but in return you would be listed as a prisoner of war. My dad told me they refused. This captain (Horst Uphoff) also stated: "I apologize for the sinking of your ship"; and stated "it was an act of the war". He asked them some basic questions gave them a heading for land; some canned food, a container of water, and left them to there own fate. My father always spoke highly of this Captain and his treatment of the Torvanger's crew. The local post record of our small town in Sydney, Nova Scotia Canada; printed some of the events of that day. What was not known to our family was the name of the good person who spared their lives that day in 1942: Horst Uphoff.
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