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"SCUTTLE DRILL"

FULFILMENT OF ORDER

JUST ROUTINE ON COLUMBUS

AT PISTOL POINT

j (By Air Mail,\from "The Post's" London ; Representative.) ■ -LONDON, December 22. j For a month ■ before the German ' liner. Columbus (32,5% l tons) slipped ;. out of the harbour of Vera Cruz, I Mexico, to try to. run the British blockade, the crew paraded for "scuttle I drill" every, day, it is reported by the I "Daily Herald." ■ ' .' ) '; "The Briti^ H.%Yy Wl^l n r e,ye,j r get my • ship," Captain Daphne told his pfHr cei-s; He told the crew that he would "shoot theni down like dogs" if theydid not-obey orders. ' ' "At gjp p.rn-.'? SlaptaJn Qaehne saiS, when describing the scuttling, 'a destroyer approachec]1 quickly, I saw the British Ensign. I gave the general alarm to stand by tQ scyttle and bijrn. The crew knew what to do." The crew took to the lifeboats, Captain Daehne being the last.to leave, slicing $own a lifeboat's f^|ls. "If you get an order you" fulfil that order." That's the way it is," Captain Daehne added. The weather was clear and qr|sp and a moderate swell was running. Smoke began billowing over the big luxury liner, said the "Daily Telegraph's?' New York correspondent. The German sailors left behind most of their belongings. The majority of the men were prpbabjy unt?er the impression that they were making a routine lifeboat drill. The sun was sinking when the last Germans climbed up the sea ladders of the United States cruiser Tuscaloosa, which stood by to pick up survivors.. The flaming liner threw m increasingly stronger, glow over the surface of . the ocean. When the Tuscalobsa started for New York the Columbus was burnmg from- stem to stern and was, settling fast. SOME WHO WOULD NOT SAIL. According to Captain Badt, commander of the Tuscaloosa, all hands were saved except two firemen. Seventeen Chinese refused to sail when they learned that the liner. would attempt to run t^e Allied, blockade, and three Italian rriembers p| the crew had already, deserted in Vera Cruz. "Whethsr the British. warship, saved any \is not known! According to a letter from a member of the crew of the Columbus, smuggled ashore gt yera Cruz and posted to his wife, wh,o works in the United States, the ship's company .was in a mutinous mood when she left Mex'ieo, They had been jtold, the writer says r that the liner would be scuttled if she met an Allied warship and that if anyo&g ,offer,ed any < resistance he would ~be shot. ....--- r ■ To conserve fuel oil most of the food was being served cold, while the refrigeration equipment was not being used and djfinking water ,was lukewarm. It was forbidden to waste electricity on lighting after dark. Vice-Admiral Sir Sidney Meyrick, Commander-in-Chief of the America and- West fiid^es 'BjtiuAdrbn, is credited with haying intercepted ,tb,e .Columbus 200 miles north-west of ijerniuda. It is understood that it .was he who sent out the British .destroyer1 which fQWiMi .the JUner, qausing her captain to scuttle his ship. ' . '

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19400122.2.129

Bibliographic details

"SCUTTLE DRILL", Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 18, 22 January 1940

Word Count
502

"SCUTTLE DRILL" Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 18, 22 January 1940

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