In Wilhemshaven, we assisted the Canadian Army in offloading and forming up 3000 German troops arriving by lighter and who were being repatriated to Germany. After the work was done, the Canadian army boys came aboard to shoot the breeze, cage a meal, a tot of rum and/or a carton of cigarettes. They were a great source of souvenirs – flags, bayonets, helmets and the most favoured of all – guns of any description. The latter came aboard in great quantities (including ammunition) so that when we left to return to Scapa Flow there was enough artillery aboard to start a civil war.
In the mess decks, when off watch, the newly armed crew members displayed, compared and generally played with their lethal weapons until the inevitable happened. A couple of rounds were accidentally fired. They went ricocheting around our steel bulkheads, deck and deckheads. Fortunately, no one was injured but the incident resulted in orders from on high that ALL firearms were to be tagged and turned into the Gunnery Officer who would store them in one of the magazines until we reached Halifax.
In Halifax, the Canadian Mounties came aboard
and all the “souvenirs” were piled on the Quarterdeck. The Mounties
examined them and issued permits for non automatic weapons. The unacceptable
automatic weapons were “broken apart” and unceremoniously dumped over the
side. So somewhere in Halifax Harbour there are sufficient “illegal
weapons” to, probably, enable Nova Scotia to secede should it so desire.
|This was the registration certificate issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for firearms which were trophies of war. (Courtesy Ted Doyle)|
|Here Ted Doyle, hams it up for the camera in
a "Gerry" uniform, a helmet and a bayonet which were obtained in
Whilemshaven. He still has these in his possession along with
a gas mask. (Photo courtesy Ted Doyle)