Norwood Twin Mariners Home For Visit

Shipped On Different Boats To Avoid Double Tragedy

After 15 months of merchant mariners traveling separate, treacherous sea routes to the far-flung bottle areas of the world, two 20-year-old twin brothers were back at their Washington street home today to swap battle yarns.

The boys are Gordon and Harold Small, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Philip C. Small, and it was pure chance that the twin brothers arrived home at the time. Neither was aware of the other’s homecoming.

They are veterans, of four years in the Merchant Marine which they joined after graduating from Norwood High School. The twins had been close pals since childhood but were forced to separate due to a promise to their parents that they would not both ship on the same boat lest sinking endanger the lives of both.

Since the outbreak of hostilities, the Small twins have survived enough sea adventure to keep the eager ears of Norwood friends well supplied with stories for months to come. But there’s something more important waiting for the youthful mariners and they expect to be back at sen at sea soon, helping to transport real war cargoes to the Allied troops the globe over.

Gordon, who is a fireman, has just completed a voyage to Murmansk, Russia, that was filled with hardships and setbacks over 15 action-packed months. During that time, he survived a score of attacks from enemy airplanes and submarines.


His brother, Harold, an able-bodied seaman, was aboard a merchantman plying between North Africa and the British Isles supplying Allied forces battling the Germans and Italians in Tunisia.

Harold came through a dozen torpedo attacks on his ship unscathed until the vessel finally fell victim to a fatal blow and was sunk. Taking to an open lifeboat as the ship settled to the bottom, he spent seven days on the ocean before being picked up by a friendly ship.

Although Harold doesn’t place any faith in fortune tellers, he relates that they happened to hit it right in his case. He said he visited a clairvoyant on a lark just before he sailed on the last trip, and was told that he would leave the boat on a certain date. Harold remarked that he chuckled at the prediction because he knew he would be at sea. but came the day and also the torpedo that cleared all docks for good.

The boys have brought back to Norwood many souvenirs of distant lands which they picked up in foreign ports.

April 20, 1943 – The Norwood Messenger