The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack
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An unforgettable story of children in wartime, of heroism
at sea, and -- above all -- of courage and the power of the
On September 17, 1940, at a little after ten at night, a
German submarine torpedoed the passenger liner S.S. City
of Benares in the North Atlantic. There were 406 people
on board, but the ship’s prized passengers were 90 children
whose parents had elected to send their boys and girls away
from Great Britain to escape the ravages of World War II.
They were considered lucky, headed for quiet, peaceful, and
relatively bountiful Canada.
The Benares sank in half an hour, in a gale that
sent several of her lifeboats pitching into the frigid sea.
They were more than five hundred miles from land, three
hundred miles from the nearest rescue vessel.
Miracles on the Water tells the astonishing story
of the survivors -- not one of whom had any reasonable hope
of rescue as the ship went down. The initial "miracle"
involves one British destroyer’s race to the scene, against
time and against the elements; the second is the story of
Lifeboat 12, missed by the destroyer and left out on the
water, 46 people jammed in a craft built and stocked for 30.
Those people lasted eight days on little food and tiny
rations of drinking water. The survivors have grappled ever
since with questions about the ordeal: Should the
Benares have been better protected? How and why did
they persevere? What role did faith and providence play in
Based on first hand accounts from the child survivors and
other passengers, including the author’s great-uncle,
Miracles on the Water brings us the story of the
attack on the Benares and the extraordinary events
1 comment posted.
Re: Miracles on the Water
Wonderful book.. anyone who loves sea sagas and the endurance of the human spirit will love this
(Bob Schwalbaum 5:36pm March 20, 2010)
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