Surviving the M/S PEIPING sunk by U-66 Under Friedrich Markworth on 9 Sept. 1942
Written by survivor Mr. Artur Larsson in Swedish, Sept. 2013
Kindly shared by his son, Johan Larsson, Sept., 2013
Kindly translated to English by Mr. Mickael Lundgren, Sweden, Feb. 2014
PEIPING Photo courtesy of Sjöhistoriska Museet, Stockholm
We left Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 22, 1942 with a cargo of most raw ox hide, and wool and tallow for New York. Everything looked good, glorious weather we pass the equator Sept. 2 at longitude 23 ° west, according to estimates. But on September 9, we were at latitude. 23 ° 50 ‘ longitude. w 50 ° 10 ‘. As was usual at sea , we drank coffee at 10 o’clock. Well we had been sitting in the mess hall (dining room) for 10 minutes, when the ship was shaken by a terrible explosion that threw water masses over the ship.
We rushed amidships to the lifeboats and then saw that the starboard both lifeboats was blown off, so we had to man the port two lifeboats, one larger and one smaller, we had problems with the launch, the ship was moving forward so the lifeboat was about to capsize then we could not loosen the pulleys, but he who sat in the bow took the ax and cut the lifeline that was trapped in the ship, the lifeboat straightened up and pulleys released and we could row away from Peiping still floated.
When we come together with the smaller lifeboat, which had the severely injured motorman Augustsson on board , the engineer Liljeqvist saved his life when he rushed down into the water-filled engine room, where Augustsson was floating, carried him up to the lifeboat, notice that Augustsson was a big and hefty man, it was an achievement of class. We had a consultation in both lifeboats if we could row back, because Peiping floated still and three of our comrades were missing, and possibly rations and cigarettes , at sea all smoked, so without smoking (it) would become difficult.
The U-boat approached us and our captain shouted, “if the submarine shoots at us we will jump overboard and hold on to the outside of the lifeboat”, then a sailor named Allan Svensson shouted: ” if they shoot so I will stand up in the boat” after all we had no chance. They could have killed us, we had heard so much about cruel U-boat captains.
Now , we set course for the shore , but it went slow , we had no favorable wind, we tried to row but was too weak to handle the oars . Then we saw a fishing boat and we waved and shouted , but they seemed a little suspicious and it was no wonder since we must have looked hideous , but in the end they took courage and came up alongside , and they gave us water and they took over the oars and these athletic build creoles and of them we were told that it was we had the islandGuadeloupe for about us.
We went out to the creek that ran next door and joked with the black gals who washed clothes in the rippling brook. This Day on Sept 25. 1942, 13.00, we got, for the last time, embark our lifeboats, when a motor yacht took us in tow to the largest city on the island of Basse Terre, where we arrived at 16:30 the same day. There, we were taken into the monastery hospital at Pigal Saint Hyacente What I particularly remember from it was that we got a laxative called English salt, to put the seam on our shriveled stomachs, but the catch was that there was only one toilet the one that found there first he stayed and the other had only monastery garden to take refuge and it can each understand, this fragrant environment snapped turned into a stinking inferno. After staying at the monastery hospital for 5 days, we were moved on 29 Sept. to a hotel up in the mountains in a village called Dolé, it was very beautiful on the volcano slope, there was a swimming pool in the park and the water came from the mountains and was over +30°C degrees.