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The Pacific Grove

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:14 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

In April 1943, my father, Jack Pressman, was a gunner accompanying a merchant ship, The Pacific Grove, across the Atlantic. In New York, he attended a concert, ate a banana (they had become rare in Britain) and bought a doll to take back for his one year old daughter, my sister. On the return journey, the ship carried train engines which were chained to the deck and rolled about, making a racket. In the night of 12 to 13 April, the ship was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine, captained, I have learned, by Otto von Bülow. The lifeboats were hit by the blast and the men jumped over the side of the ship, on to a raft. My father hit his head as he jumped and afterwards had a scar, barely visible, on his forehead. The survivors were picked up by a corvette called the Acacia and taken to Greenock, near Glasgow. There, medical staff put antiseptic powder on my father's wound and he was then given compassionate leave for a few days, to go to London. My sister and I still have the little diary which he carried with him when the ship was torpedoed. The Imperial War Museum in London has some of his documents.


Person the story/items relate to

Jack Pressman

Person who shared the story/items

Gillian Lazarus

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was my father.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID