Statement of Nathan Walters

My name is Nathan Walters.  I am 39 years of age and reside at Isle aux Morte.  I was a passenger onboard the S.S. Caribou at the time of her torpedoing.

We sailed from North Sydney onboard the S.S. Caribou at about 10:00 p.m. on October 13th, 1942.  I was walking around most of the night while most of the passengers were in their berths.  I was out on deck about 3:30 a.m., October 14th and it was a very good morning with the wind blowing from the South West.  I left the deck a few minutes later and went to the 2nd Class to go to bed.  I had taken off my shoes and coat, lighted a cigarette, and was about to get in the berth when the torpedo struck the ship; the time being about 3:50 a.m.

I scrambled for the steps leading to the deck from the 2nd Class and when I reached those the water was to my waist.  I succeeded in reaching the deck, where there was panic and confusion among the women, children and men passengers.  I went to the boat deck on the port side of the ship and helped lower two boats which were full of passengers, both men and women.  I don’t know what happened to those boats afterwards.

There were no boats on the starboard side of the ship where the torpedo had struck, and it was apparent that those had either been launched or broken up by the explosion.  I then left the starboard side and went to the boat deck of the port side and held on to one of the davits until the water was to my chest and then I swam away from the ship to look for something to support myself but did not find anything until about 8:00 a.m., when I succeeded in getting on a life-boat, which had been cut in two pieces.  With me on the boat was a Canadian Service man whom I had helped into it.

The Caribou sank about 10 minutes after being struck.  Then we saw a drum floating towards us so we picked this up and tied it to the thwarts of the piece of boat to help float her.

Later two bags of quilts floated down and we used those to help keep us warm.  During the time previous to our getting on the life-boat I had heard two explosions, apparently depth charges.  At about 8:30 a.m. I sighted a Corvette about three miles to the South steaming in our direction.  On her way she picked up a number of survivors from the rafts and then she picked up me and my Canadian companion.  I then became delirious, but about an hour afterwards I began to feel alright and then I heard from some of the passengers that survivors from a life-boat had been taken onboard and also that we were headed back for South Sydney, where we arrived about 4:30 p.m., October 14th.

I was then taken to a Doctor who released me as being in very good condition.  I later went to the “Blue Bird Hotel” at North Sydney and then left for home, on the S.S. Burgeo, where I arrived Sunday October 18th, 1942.

                                                                                    (sgd.) Nathan Walters

J. Coffin, Ranger,
12:15 P.M., 29-10-42
Isle aux Morte.


Result of further interrogation of Nathan Walters

When questioned about the presence of a Corvette as escort to the Caribou, Mr. Walters replied that he had seen no sign of a Corvette during the night although he had spent most of the night and early hours in the morning on the deck.  The first sign of the Corvette was about 8:30 a.m., October 14th, when he saw her coming from the South.

Asked about a Submarine, which was seen by some of the passengers, Mr. Walters stated that he saw no sign of it.

Mr. Walters also said that there was no other boat at the scene of the rescue except the Corvette.

While in the water, before daylight, Mr. Walters saw a plane with Navigation Lights up circling the wreckage and after daylight he saw a whole number of planes, with Canadian Markings, circling the wreckage.


 J. Coffin, Ranger
(J. Coffin) Regt. No. 125,
Port Aux Basques Detachment

Source: "Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador."

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