Tom Kirkham - Torpedoed

Running time
2 min 14 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Coming back to Sydney I left the Aquitania and I joined the Ulysses bound for England. The Ulysses was one of the last ships out of Hong Kong and we called into New Zealand on the way across the Pacific.

We went through the Panama Canal. On the Atlantic side of the canal we had a collision with a Panamanian oil tanker at night. I don't know what happened to the tanker but I know our bows were damaged badly.

We were on our way up to Newport News for repairs and then a sub come along. U-Boat 160. Captain Georg Lassen. He was one of the last of the aces. He sank 28 ships and he died last year. I've been keeping tabs on him and then we got three torpedoes. We got picked up about 4 hours later by an American destroyer.

Took us into Charleston, South Carolina and from Charleston, South Carolina we went up to New York where we had, we were given two weeks survivor's leave.

I had Anzac day dinner 1942 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the biggest hotel in the world. Miss Nola Luxford, she looked after all the Australians over there, air force mainly and we saw everything in New York. Got free fares. After a fortnight in New York on the loose, I was shipped up to Halifax Nova Scotia

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