Statement of Charles Ford
I am 27 years of age and reside at Mouse Island. I am married. I was a trimmer on board S.S. “Caribou”. I had been on her for one month. I have been a fisherman the greater part of my life, fishing out of Port aux Basques and Channel. I was on duty when the “Caribou” left Sydney on the night of Oct. 13. I went off duty at mid-night and turned in immediately. My quarters were in the fo’castle. I went to sleep and the next thing I remembered was something waking me which seemed to shake me all over. I heard somebody shout and I jumped out of bunk. It was dark in the fo’castle but I could hear the other men getting out also. I grabbed my life-belt and ran for No. 6 lifeboat, back on the steerage deck. When I came out of the fo’castle the first thing I saw was people on deck, screeching and asking what was the matter, and water rushing. I was not able to reach No. 6 boat because there was too much water rushing over the deck. I then went back towards the fo’castle to get my knife but met Freeman Skeard on deck and he told me not to go. I then jumped overboard. I swam away from the ship and reached a raft. There was one man only on the raft. I got on the raft. I had just got on the raft when I saw the Caribou go down. She was on fire in the stern as she went.
I was on the raft about five minutes when I saw something going through the water which looked like a submarine. As I saw this going through the water, I saw a raft with people on it turn over, and the people on it thrown into the water. I could also see a small red light on this object which I saw going through the water. While I was watching this the man on the raft with me said. “Fall down, that’s Jerry.” I lay flat on the raft and then heard something which I am unable to describe but it seemed like a squall of wind and the next thing I knew I heard something whiz past me striking my life belt. When daylight came I noticed that the corner was cut off the life belt.
After sometime on the raft we paddled it around until we came to a life boat with a number of people on board. We then got in this lifeboat. When dawn came I saw the Mine Sweeper in the distance. I would say she was three or four miles away. I could see nothing of other rafts or life boats. It was about 9:30 when the Sweeper picked up the life boat I was in. Freeman Skeard, Fireman, of Channel, was in this life boat.
(Sgd) Charles Ford
N. Forward, Sergt,
Source: "Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador."
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