Roy Cornford - Rescue at sea

Running time
3 min 8 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Roy Cornford:
Then it came right over next to us and one of the sailors dived off the boat and swam over to our raft with a rope and they pulled us over next to the submarine and then they ... You put your hands up and they would pull you aboard.

Well, the sailor that dived into the water and got us tied over, he got up there on the submarine and he stuck his foot back out for me to get hold of and he pulled me over close to one of those pictures shows me where I'm being pulled aboard the submarine and I'm pleading with them when I put my hands up not to grab my arms because they were just one big scab.

And they got me on board and I was amazed we could walk. And they said "Go over there" and we walked over towards the hatch cover and they said "Drop your clothes off and go down the hatch". And just as I dropped my clothes off, I heard a voice call out "Planes! Planes!" And then there was a panic, everyone. And then all of the sudden, they says "No, it's all clear! All clear! It's only birds."

While all that was happening, they picked up one more raft after that and there was only one man on it. And then the submarine went down below and they got going and one man died that night. And they did service and gave him a proper burial. And one of the sailors who was the medical officer on the submarine, he went around and he was doing all he could for the prisoners. And they fed us, first, they just gave two spoonfuls of water and then they gave us cups of water to drink and then they gave us soups and good food and then for about seven days we sailed on the submarine til we got to Saipan and then when we surfaced, they cruised in next to the mothership and then they sent down ice cream and apples.

Of course, we were amazed at the food that we got. And I suppose we'd all put weight on in the seven days we were on the sub with this food the subs gave us. And of course, the sailors on the submarine all gave us their clothes and there were 72 of them and 73 of us.

There was one prisoner that died, there was only 72 of each when we got there but we'd made a hell of a mess, with all the oil on our bodies and that, on the submarine and they fed us like lords and then they took us up into an American tent hospital.

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