This Day in Norwood History-August 14

Norwood Boy Rescued After 7 Days in Open Lifeboat

Harold Leonard Small, Norwood high School, Class of 1941

14 Aug 1942, Fri The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

NORWOOD, Aug. 14 — Harold Small, son of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Small of Washington st., who was aboard a large merchantman torpedoed in the South Atlantic on July 22, arrived home yesterday for a brief visit with his folks with a tale of spending seven days in an open lifeboat before being picked up by a British ship.

As his lifeboat started to pull away from the stricken ship a sub broke water and several of its crew came out on deck, one armed with a machine gun which he tried out in the water. Several members of the lifeboat crew were apprehensive that they were about to be machine-gunned. Small said, but the submarine pulled up within hailing distance and the officer in charge, a 35-year-old blond giant, asked them if they wanted cigarettes, hot food or water.

Several hours after the sinking, Small stated, a giant amphibian soared overhead with United Nations markings on it and dropped flares and food, and the crew were optimistic that they would soon be picked up. Two days after the sinking, Small stated, the crew had a note dropped to them by a bomber that there was a man floating a short distance away, and the boat made off in the direction indicated and picked up C. D. McMasters, a member of the crew, who had become separated from the others when the ship went down.

After drifting for seven days, working towards the shoreline & the time, the three boatloads of survivors were picked up by an English ship and finally landed ashore.

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