PS Waverley & Dunkirk – In the Words of Captain John E Cameron DSC

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

PS Waverley & Dunkirk – In the Words of Captain John E Cameron DSC

The latest addition to the collection of videos on the PSPS YouTube Channel is a very special one indeed. This new video will appeal to anyone interested in the events at Dunkirk in May 1940 and in the sinking of the 1899 Waverley in addition to the introduction of the 1947 Waverley.

The latest video produced by the Society contains a rare interview with the late Captain John E Cameron DSC., Paddle Steamer Waverley’s first master in 1947.

Waverley (1947) at Oban North Pier on Sunday 4th June 2017.

In this special interview John recalls his early life at sea and his experiences at the beaches of Dunkirk during the mass evacuation of troops back to England. Captain Cameron not only served on the present day Waverley, he also served on the previous Waverley of 1899 and was on board when the vessel was sunk in the English channel on 29th May 1940.

The 1899 Waverley on the Clyde in peace time before she was lost in 1940 at Dunkirk.

During the interview Captain Cameron describes in some detail the events leading up to the sinking of HMS Waverley (1899) and how he had to abandon ship after she was hit by enemy action:

[quote]They [soldiers] had come through hell getting to the evacuation point and there they were aboard the Clyde steamer Waverley and talking about journeys to Rothesay.

The planes were too many for us and eventually we were struck by two bombs.

So I gave orders to abandon ship. I was still on the bridge now as the ship was sinking and I stayed there, not because I wanted to be a hero, but I was dead scared and didn’t want to go in the water.[/quote]

HMS Waverley and HMS Marmion seen underway during World War II.

Captain Cameron then goes on to recall some of his experiences after the events of World War II such as the construction of the current day Waverley which he oversaw:

[quote]In June 1947 the Waverley was completed and ready for service and I was a very proud man when I took her out on her maiden voyage to renew the pleasure sailings[/quote]

Captain John E Cameron DSC retired in 1971 with one of his final commands being on the Turbine Steamer Queen Mary II. After his retirement he held a keen interest in the preservation of Waverley.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking the video below.

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