Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

As Close to My Grandfather As I will Ever Be

Picture - 12 miles off this coast - Roy Shartle Everhart died here July 4th 1942.

We are presently off the northern coast of Haiti/Dominican Republic. Our location is roughly 20º N 72º W.

My grandfather - Roy Shartle Everhart - was killed on the USS Norlandia on July 4th 1942. The ship was on its way from Puerto Rico to Cuba - just 13 miles off the coast near here. A German U-boat scored a direct hit on the engine room where Roy worked as a fireman/water tender - probably killed instantly. 15 minutes later - the ship was gone. Of the crew of 23 - 19 survived. The German sub surfaced - gave the survivors some brandy and directed them to shore about 13 miles south. Most of the crew of the Norlandia were in the teens and early 20s. Roy was 55.

The sinking was at roughly 20ºN 69ºW - so we are about 150 miles from the sunken ship - add maybe 5 more miles because the deepest spot in the Atlantic - the Puerto Rican Trench is here. As our ship curled west away from water zero - I took a few pictures and stared. I am not one much for praying - but did send my best wishes to Grandfather Roy Everhart - he died about six years before I was born.

Roy was not particularly a hero - he left my Grandmother Bertha with 4 small kids in a Coaldale company home. Dad was seven - but agreed to work in the mines in return from not being evicted. He worked in Number 8 mine for 25 years before it closed. No one ever talked about Roy Everhart in our family - we just admired my grandmother. She carried the weight a long time.

I wish Roy would have stuck around. The family really needed a real hero.

No comments: