By:Megan.GarasFirst of the terrible deep water. Just

By:Megan.GarasFirst Story-The City Of Benares TragedyThe City of Benares left Liverpool on the 13th of September in the year 1940 with 406 people on board, including 90 children who were being evacuated from wartime from the countries Britain to Canada and the United States, most of them were part of a government scheme organised by the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB). The third shot was successful and City of Benares sank in about 30 minutes and 10 seconds. 70 of the CORB children were among 134 passengers killed, along with 131 of the 200-strong crew; loss of life was exacerbated by severe weather in the night, including gale-force winds, storms, rain and hail. When the German U-48 boat crew got back to their base in France, they had discovered that the ship’s passengers had been all children. Late on the 17th September of the year 1940, in rough mid-Atlantic seas, a German U-48 made two unsuccessful attempts to torpedo their ship. Derek Bech, aged as nine when the ship has sink , was on board with his mother, little brother and his two sisters. Once the ship had sunk Derek and his other sisters, his little brother Alan and their mother survived by hanging to a tiny raft in the rough seas with many waves that was pushing them back. The consequences of the attack were devastating, even by wartime, and it marked the effective end of all overseas evacuation from Britain, both the public and the private.” Sadly Some of the children were killed in the explosions after the boat has blown up,, some were trapped in their cabins and they could not get out, and the rest died when the lifeboats were launched incorrectly or if it was just really far away from everyone else’s raft and even some of the children were just tipped into the sea and they sunk because of the terrible deep water. Just nine of those child survivors are now alive till this day, and sadly they have no plans to mark the 77st anniversary of the sinking of their very own ship.”But at 9:45 pm on Friday night, which is the time the ship was torpedoed, I’ll be thinking about it everyday until I have passed away. They were among the  few children who were already in their bed below the deck and that they were all mostly travelling without their parents meant that a far higher proportion of children than adults were lost and dead.Second Story-Bess Cummings A Brave Story Bess Cummings was one of the last survivors of the sinking of the sinking ship the City of Benares, which was torpedoed by a German U-48 boat in 1940 with 400 passengers and crew onboard, including 90 children. In September 17,1940, when Bess was 15, she and her 10-year-old little brother Louis were being evacuated to join their relatives in Canada, they were also part of a scheme organised by the Childrens Overseas Reception Board. They came from the most deprived communities and bombed cities, including Portsmouth, Southampton, Cardiff, Swansea, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sunderland and London. Having travelled up from London, they left on the ship from Liverpool on a beautiful evening on Friday 13 of September to join a group that were together just south of Ireland. The children were separated, meaning the boys were on the portside and the girls were on the starboard of the ship because CORB did not want males and females to be together. Bess and her younger sibling’s fifth day, the 17th the weather turned for the worse and the children spent the day in their cabins and most of them turned seasick because of the food they ate for breakfast and dinner. Just after 10 in the night there were two explosions in the portside engine room and it was soon obvious to Bess that the ship had been torpedoed. Bess had to fight her way out of her cabin as a cupboard had fallen against the door. But, before Bess and her roommates were about to be dead, Bess met up with her new friend Beth Williams, a 14-year-old girl from Liverpool; so, Bess and Beth rushed up to the lifeboat deck to find chaos and panic but, there was no sign of Bess’s little brother Louis. Bess and Beth and two dozen other children managed to swim back to their lifeboat and hung on as best they could until it turned dark. In spite of the strong wind the tree clung tightly to a rope along the spine for 16 hours and 12 seconds. On the morning of the September 18th it was a sunny and warm and the two girls Bess and Beth encouraged each other to hang on to the lifeboat as each freezing wave in the ocean. But, the people was to remain at the sea for another week with 46 people onboard including six CORB children and one heroic nurse, Mary Cornish.Third Story-Kids Lives After The Ship Took A Turn.Ken, Bess, Beth and the rest of the CORB children are fed delicious food, have access to a playroom filled with toys and are told that they must carry their life jackets with them at all times until they are out of the range of the U-boats. During their rough weather, many of the children suffer from seasickness, but they do manage to spend some time enjoying themselves and making new friends. Then one morning they awaken to find that their navy escort is gone and they are considered to be in safe, neutral waters. But the British couldn’t be more wrong. Their exciting adventure is about to turn deadly. All the kids have remembered that this was a vivid recounting of a terrible disaster which ultimately ended the CORB program of transporting British children out of the country. Only thirteen of the ninety CORB children on the City of Benares survived the sinking. Because the ship sank in approximately thirty minutes, it was very difficult to launch the lifeboats properly meaning that many of the ships crew and passengers did not end up safely in the boats. This was to be a temporary change as the children were expected to return after the war was over. The children could apply through their schools and they were to travel alone without their parents but, in the company of escorts who were often teachers and young people selected for this dangerous job. The children were placed on boats as part of convoys guarded by navy destroyers from German U-boat (submarine) attacks.But with the escalation of the war against Britain, these attacks turned deadly.Fourth Story-Little Girl Says Her Life Before Being In The Atlantic For 8 DaysFourteen year old Elizabeth (Beth) Walder doesn’t want to move to the country in the fall to attend St. Alban’s school. She wants to stay at home with her parents and get to know the young fireman his name was Gareth and she just recently met him. When Gareth enlists, Beth is disappointed but she learns from him that his younger brother is being sent to Canada as part of the CORB program. This leads Bess to try a different tact with her mother and suggest that she and her younger brother Louis go to Canada too. Eventually her parents agree to send them both to an aunt who lives in Winnipeg. Beth and Louis connect with CORB at the train station and board a train to Liverpool. During their journey to the port they meet a young girl, Gussie Grimmond, who is in charge of her four younger siblings. Bess also meets another girl at Fazakerley, Beth Cummings, who will live in Toronto with her aunt and uncle. Beth is just as excited as Bess to be traveling to Canada. They quickly become good friends and nickname each other Princess Elizabeth and Queen Bess.After a brief stay at the Children’s Homes in Fazakerley, they board the ship for Canada.Fifth Story-What Happened To CORB Now-A-DaysIn total, CORB despatched 2,664 children, who became known as ‘Sea Evacuees’, over a period of three months on 16 ships. Canada received the bulk of them – 1,532 in nine parties. Three parties sailed for Australia, with a total of 577 children, while 353 went to South Africa in two parties and 202 to New Zealand, again in two parties. A further 24,000 children had been approved for sailing in that time and over 1,000 escorts, including doctors and nurses, enrolled. Sixth Story-Rescue And SettlementOut of the 406 people on the City of Benares, only 82 men, 18 women, and 13 children were rescued. The cost in human lives can’t be calculated. Mr. Grimmond was a laborer, not a soldier, but he wanted personal revenge on the Nazis for the murders of his children. He went to enlist, but was judged too old for anything but home defense. After the tragedy of the City of Benares, the British Government decided that it could not risk the lives of its youngest citizens in the dangerous Atlantic crossing. It did not send any more children across the Atlantic Ocean to safety.Seventh Story-All The Food And Water Is DrainedIt was a dark and scary night but, the men protected the kids by putting up a sail and headed across the 600 miles of water toward England. What they were doing was taking out the boat relatively dry despite repeated bitter storms. On the eighth day the food and water ran out. The stout hearted party then agreed that this meant they were about to be rescued. One ship had passed them by already that day, but then they saw an Australian Sunderland flying boat returning home from convoy duty.The twenty-ton flying boat, running short of fuel, signaled her relief plane which in turn signaled and brought the British destroyer, Anthony, commanded by Ronald Brooke. Six boys and forty adults were rescued about 600 miles off the Irish coast after spending eight days afloat in the Atlantic Ocean.My EditorialThis story which is also a real story was truly devastating. But,I am happy for those who survived. To my mind, this book was very very sad and at times not fun to read because I am the type of reader who not only visualizes what I am reading but, thinks and almost feels what the characters are going through in the book like the ship sinking. A lesson I learned in this book is to never give up because, these people in the book were in terrible times but they never gave up and pushed through with determination. The fact that this novel is a true story, I that real life people lived through these horrific times makes me so grateful for the sacrifices people made for my freedom in this country. This book also relates to me because it took place during World War II and once I read this sad newspaper article that my dad had kept for a while and he showed me a couple of years ago and it was about a little boy named Willie and he got taken away from his home by Nazis to do labor for them. But,thankfully, he returned a year later to be reunited with his family.


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