Some of the most inspiring and heroic things I’ve ever read come from the obituaries of the World War Two generation as they steadily recede into memory. Today the Globe and Mail printed the obituary of Arthur Taylor, a young Newfoundlander who was one of the few survivors of one of the most one-sided and gallant sea actions of that war.
In November, 1940, an allied convoy in the North Atlantic was attacked by the German surface raider Admiral Scheer. The escorting vessel, HMS Jervis Bay, was a converted ocean liner mounting a few ineffectual guns, but it held off the Scheer long enough to save the bulk of the convoy. The Jervis Bay was sunk and most of its crew, 190, were lost. In 2008, Taylor had a chance to sail on a Battle of the Atlantic commemorative trip with HMCS Sackville and had this to say about his experience.
“It was only a quick flash. I was just thinking about those who never made it back. Back then you just prayed and thanked God you were alive. That’s the way it goes; you have to keep on living.”
Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.