William Carl Crozier
Merchant Marine. American
|Born||10 May 1922||Eldorado, IL|
Roster information listed for William Carl Crozier
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Jack Carnes||Steam tanker||Fireman/Watertender||31 Aug 1942||U-516 (1)|
From the man himself (2013): "My name is William (Bill) Crozier and I was a Fireman/Watertender on Jack Carnes that was sunk by a German U-boat on 31 August 1942 in the North Atlantic. This was my first ship.
When the Captain gave the order to abandon ship two lifeboats were launched. One forward and one aft. I was in the aft one. Entire crew got off the ship with no injuries. My boat was lowered to water with a few crew and the rest had to climb down knotted line. Someone in boat tripped the release lever and boat drifted away from the ship. We all had to go in the water with life jackets on and swim to life boat. Thank God it was flat calm. We stood by floating ship hoping to get back on it. We saw the ship break in two and go down. Never did see the sub. At daylight we transferred men so both lifeboats were even. At night we tied together so we would not drift apart. On second night a big storm came down on us and we had to separate. Never saw them again. In my 30 years at sea this storm is the worst one that I have ever been in. 40 to 50 foot waves, two men on each oar and the rest bailing water. Plus being in a lifeboat. Fought storm for 30 hours. All US seamen are lifeboat certified. Only thing that saved us was the fact we removed a flotation tank out of the life boat and punched holes in it. We had some heavy line and sunk tank in water which made a drogue which some what stabilized the life boat on the big waves. Canvas sea anchors were not of any use as they ripped out right away. There was an American destroyer in the Azores and got our S.O.S. and tried to find us but is was to rough for them and reported to American consul no chance of survivors. When we did land he could not believe it. When we did sight land we sent up flares and the local fisher men came out and towed us in. At dock none of us could stand up and walk as we did not have our land legs. We sat on dock for 30 minutes before trying to walk. We were put up in hotel with meals. A Portuguese destroyer took us to another island where the American Consul was. Then by steam ship to another island where Pan Am old flying clipper boats were based. Then home to good old USA. All this took 45 days.
After the war was over I again shipped on a Sinclair tanker. By then I was an officer 2nd Engineer. One day I got a ride to town with Port Engineer and told him I was on Jack Carnes when she was sunk. He could not believe it. He also told me to go outside my room and pat the lifeboat as that was the one we were saved on. They had lost a life boat in a storm and picked up this one while passing by Azores. They had to buy back boat from fishing persons who towed us in. Needless to say I went and kissed the boat when I returned to ship. Life is strange."
- Personal communication
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