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Date: 16 August 1917


Builth Boy's Experience.

Among Builth boys home on leave is one of the many survivors of the torpedoed boat, S.S. Amadale [sic], viz., Pte. W. J. Hamer (youngest son of Mr and Mrs Hamer, Tan-house, Builth Wells). Pte. Hamer was picked up after being many hours in an open boat, and landed in Quebec.

Our young friend wishes to mention that, at both St. John's and Quebec, the Canadians showed the survivors great hospitality. Mr and Mrs Hamer has another son, Gr. Llewelyn Hamer, serving in France.

Appended we give an extract, describing the experience of Pte. W. J. Hamer and others, from a Quebec newspaper:—

"To be at the mercy of an angry sea for eight hours in life-boats after their ship was torpedoed was the experience of the Imperial Army officers and about two hundred Tommies who arrived at this port on July 9th in an ocean liner. The officers who are among the survivors are Capt. Park, of Scotland, Lieut. Ingram and Lieut. Stroud, of England. They were passengers on the S.S. ——, which was torpedoed off the north coast of Ireland without warning in the latter part of June. Forty-one persons were lost. Reports from many of those who survived the attack of the German sea pirates prove the efficiency of the Huns' espionage in the British Isles. The S.S. left port on the evening of June 22nd. Thirty-six hours later, at 8 o'clock in the morning, the U 153 [sic] sent a torpedo directed at the vessel. The look-out spotted the foaming missile of death, called to the first mate, and the steamer immediately veered hard to port, evading the torpedo. At four o'clock the same day the submarine shot out another torpedo, with no better result to the murderers. At about six o'clock a steamer, several miles astern, was suddenly smashed, sinking within three minutes. 'When we saw that blow up,' continued a rescued man. 'we knew our hours were numbered. Some of us made a show of turning in, full rigged, but we slept but little. At dead of night we were shocked by a great crash. I myself was literally shot out of my bunk. We all took to the boats.' There was naturally confusion, but no panic. Two of the life-boats turned turtle, and a number of the fellows, 41 in all, met watery graves. 'It was a horrible experience,' continued the survivor. It took eight hours for our steamer to sink, and she was not finally disposed of until she was shelled by the U boat. This occurred shortly before 7 o'clock in the morning. The life-boats were in a bad way, being overcrowded in some cases and undermanned in others. For example, there were 36 fellows in our boat, and not a good sailor in the bunch. We drifted along—some with sails set and others in most any fashion. After a while we found ourselves confronted by the great submarine, the latest type, of which the Nabob was the U 153. The commander came up to us, speaking excellent English. He was looking for our ship's captain, chief mate and one or two others."

'Torpedoed!.' The Brecon and Radnor Express. 16 Aug. 1917. 5.

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