The Suez Canal has provided a link as important as the jugular vein to the world of commerce since 1858. Its importance has dramatically diminished since a container carrying vessel buried its bows in the canal’s banks and constipated the seaway’s traffic.
On May 2, 1945, the German Armed Forces – not the government had capitulated, overwhelmed by the combined forces of the Soviet Union, British Empire and industrial-military might of the United States.
The British Merchant Navy freighter Fiscus, 4,815 tonnes and built by W. H. Seager & Co. loaded a cargo of steel ingots, lumber and a deck cargo of crated aircraft parts in Canada and sailed from Three Rivers to Sydney, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. There she joined up with the 35 ships making up Convoy SC-7, which left Sydney, Canada on October 5, 1940.
A seaman who fell overboard from a supply ship in the vast Pacific Ocean at 4 am spent more than 14 hours clinging to an old fishing buoy before being rescued. Alone in the middle of the world’s greatest ocean, and without a lifejacket, at first dawn he chose to swim towards a black speck he spotted on the horizon. It was a decision that would ultimately save his life.
In 1942 marine fireman William Swinchin of Dingle Mount in Liverpool, England engaged in an incredible act of endurance when he survived 75 days alone, adrift on a raft after his vessel was sunk by a U-boat.
The Fort Stikine was one of 26 identical company freighters. The fleet of ocean-going vessels included the Fort Stikine that weighed-in at 7,142 gross tons voyaged at up to eleven knots with its 7,000-ton cargo.
Helen Duncan was a Scottish medium who held spiritual séances during World War Two. During one of her November 1941 séances, she spoke to a sailor’s spirit.
FIRST HAND ACCOUNT: As a serving British seaman in the Merchant Marine, neither I nor my shipmates were flippant of ghosts on ships and ghostly vessels or strange supernatural happenings.
The sinking of the Titanic was a disaster of such massive proportions that it tends to eclipse the tales of two other luxury liners: its sister ships. When the Titanic was built, it was one three massive, celebrated passenger ships, all of which met disaster on the high seas.
The war in the Far East (December 1941-September 1945) was ferocious and being captured by the Japanese was no guarantee of outliving the war. Amazingly, as many Allied servicemen and women were killed by their own forces as lost their lives during Japanese captivity.