The Second Torpedo

The Second Torpedo

by Ilene Birkwood


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The Second Torpedo by Ilene Birkwood

THE SECOND TORPEDO Ilene Birkwood, survivor

This true story, written by the survivor of a U-boat attack, gives us a mesmerizing glimpse into a child's view of war.
In 1940, Hitler prepares to invade Britain. Children living in vulnerable areas in Britain are offered evacuation to the British Dominions to escape the impending invasion. As a 7-year old, the author, together with her siblings, waves goodbye to her parents and sets off for Canada. At 10 pm on August 30, in mid-Atlantic, SS Volendam is torpedoed. Three hundred children, roused from their beds,take to the lifeboats. They go calmly, without panic or tears.
Rescued by an oil tanker the children are taken to Scotland. An eye witness said, "To see them walking past in their little lifejackets made you feel terribly sad - until you saw their faces. They were all as cheerful as crickets."
By an incredible act of seamanship, the captain manages to navigate SS Volendam - a ship with a 60' hole in the bow - 200 miles to Scotland. The description of this remarkable achievement, which will impress the most jaded old salt, is based on the captain's report to the Admiralty. On arrival in Scotland, a diver checks the damaged bow and makes a startling discovery; a discovery immediately suppressed by wartime security.
The author, still eager to reach Canada, is scheduled to travel on SS City of Benares. Fortunately, fate intervenes and she cannot embark. Two weeks later, SS City of Benares sails. It, too, is torpedoed but sinks within minutes and only thirteen children are saved. This heartrending tragedy is mitigated by the inspiring story of eight little boys who survive over a week in an open boat.
Encompassing the stories of the children who reached other countries, set against the drama of Britain fighting through the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, this is a mesmerizing glimpse into a child's view of war.
The Second Torpedo is a riveting combination of personal memories, other survivors' stories, and research material. The author uncovers facts long suppressed by the War Office - among them an unexploded torpedo which lay in SS Volendam's hold. Had it exploded, she would have gone to a watery grave before her eighth birthday.
Ilene Birkwood is the author of Stress for Success, and two mystery novels - Suddenly Silence and Deadly Deception.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481019088
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 12/06/2012
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Ilene Birkwood, born in England, is a survivor of the SS Volendam torpedoing. In 1970 she moved to California where she became an expert on software quality. She retired as Vice President of Tandem computers. The author of Stress for Success and two mystery novels - Suddenly Silence and Deadly Deception - she now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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Second Torpedo 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a child with minimal responsibilities, how would you deal with an enemy threatening invasion across a narrow channel and evacuation across an ocean only to have your ship torpedoed? Sitting in your cozy armchair, you can share this true story relived by one who did. For some it will evoke memories. For others it will illustrate an eventful and critical moment in history. For all ages it is a fascinating read.
lgy More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting true story that makes a part of history a much more personal thing. If you aren't a history buff, history is hostory, but this made it personal and touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This memoir is a worthy addition to WW II literature. A child's view of a corner of a global cataclysm sheds extra light on how we can be touched and inspired. We are spared or lost on the flip of a coin or the visitation of a germ. Birkwood reveals personal matters engaged by bureaucracy with good results. Unexpected salvation from competence, courage and luck is a refreshing theme.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful account of a World War Two Experience as seen through the eyes of a child. There is some interesting information about the events of the time and the perceptions that people had on the war. Entertaining and enlightening!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago