Sidney McConville, Newspaper article about a crewmember

Thanks again to Shirley Fielden of the HMS Wallflower website for this article she send me. Its about the sinking of Abbekerk (and teh rescue by Wallflower) remembered by one of the crewmembers.

“NOW nearing 80, Sidney McConville says he “enjoyed every moment” of his 47-year life at sea. The merchant seaman first set foot on a boat in 1941 at the age of 17, and retired from the waves at 64.But his long career started with four war years where he was strafed by Stukas and had his ship torpedoed from under him in the middle of the Atlantic. Sidneysurvived by clinging to the side of the German U-boat which had sunk the Dutch ship MV Abbekerk he was crew­ing from Trinidad to Liverpool. He said: “Four days out in the Atlantic we were torpe­doed twice. It was when we were lowering the lifeboat we got hit by the second torpedo. I was knocked out of the lifeboat. “While I was being washed away, the U-boat surfaced near me. I got hold of a small iron rung. I looked up and the conning tower opened up –three or four Germans stood there scanning the ocean. “They could see me so I started shouting for help. They closed the hatch and started moving away, then I let go and the lifeboat picked me up.” and his crewmates survived for five days on a piece of corned beef, choco­late, and a beaker of water each, as they bailed out the boat to stop it sinking. Spotted by an outward-bound convoy, the men were picked up by an escorting naval ship, HMS Wallflower, and landed in Nova Scotia. From there they eventually got home.”