A Rescue at Sea

A Rescue at Sea – (PIP #29)

By Louise Peloquin

A young seaman from Lowell shares one of his World War II experiences.

L’Etoile – December 1, 1944

Description of a rescue at sea by a Lowellian


Seaman first class Aimé Martin witnesses an unforgettable scene. – 

The English and Norwegian survivors’ gratitude.

     While recounting a rescue he witnessed during a recent ocean crossing, seaman first class Aimé Martin from Merrimack Street, clearly illustrates that danger is not limited to encounters with the enemy.

     “The accident in question took place last month, somewhere at sea, at about 9:30 at night, when a tanker transporting thousands of gallons of oil collided with a cargo ship convoy. An alarm rang and it was initially thought that an enemy attack had occurred but soon it was clear that it was an accident. In no time, the damaged vessel burst into flames and men were seen jumping overboard. Having plunged into the inky oil, many of them never resurfaced. 

     While vessels in convoy must too often abandon survivors, our commander decided to retrieve as many men as possible and assigned eight of us to search positions. What a scene to see survivors floundering in the water, trying to attract our attention. Of the 23 rescued by our ship, many suffered burns, fractures and cuts. Our doctor and his medical assistants spent the whole tragic night dressing their wounds and extracting water from their lungs.

     Our ship soon resumed its course leaving behind three bodies which had hit its bow. A  fourth victim, unable to free himself from the lifesaver thrown overboard to save him, lost his strength.”

     “We later stopped at Gibraltar” added sailor Martin. “Our survivors disembarked without neglecting to express their gratitude. They particularly emphasized that, by approaching vessels liable to explode, Americans had risked their lives in order to save them.”

     Sailor Martin was able to go home for a 72-hour leave during Thanksgiving. Since then, he has returned to active duty to resume his warrior adventures. 

One Response to A Rescue at Sea

  1. Charles Gargiulo says:

    I love that Louise honors the brave soldiers and sailors of WWII with stories of their heroism from L’Etoile. May their lives and sacrifices NEVER be forgotten. They literally put their lives on the line and suffered tremendously to save us from a maniacal dictator. The least we can do to honor them is to get off our butts and vote to preserve for our next generation what their generation provided us.

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