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Children of the Doomed Voyage

ISBN: 978-0-470-01887-3
214 pages
October 2005
Children of the Doomed Voyage (0470018879) cover image
"I'm here because of what Bobby did for me. Bobby gave a great gift to me and I shall forever be grateful ... he gave me his lifejacket and he has given me sixty-five years of life which he didn't have." --John Baker, child survivor, of his brother Bobby

"There was nothing for us to do except hang on to this rope. So we were facing each other on the side of the lifeboat with this rope between us. And we never let go of that rope in all the time that followed - which turned out to be nineteen hours in all ... we knew if we did let go, that would be the end of us. The waves were terrible. We were being thrown one way and then dragged back again. Then there would be a huge wave coming right over us. You couldn't see and you would be coughing and spluttering ... next thing you were up in the air and back again ... We were just two schoolgirls fighting the north Atlantic ... There is nothing more lonely than being in mid-Atlantic on a boat upside down ... Nothing alive except us three." --Beth and Bess, child survivors

"It was terrible, you had to fight every minute. My hands were being cut in shreds with these horrible rusty tin canisters. But I was holding on, even though I was only eleven and quite slight, I kept fighting, every minute of fifteen hours in that awful sea - and I know that's why I'm alive today." --Sonia Bechs, child survivor

"He kept diving again and again and bringing back children. And then he dived and we didn't see him again." --Colin Ryder Richardson, child survivor, of Laszlo Raskai, Hungarian journalist and passenger aboard the Benares

"Purvis was one of the crew and he'd been diving in the water over and over again trying to save as many as he could until he was completely exhausted." --Fred Steels, child survivor

"I never knew her name, but I was trying to prop her up out of the water. But she became less and less conscious and I found it more and more difficult to hold her head up. Then somebody just said, 'that lady's dead, let her go'." --Colin Ryder Richardson
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Chapter One: Children of the Blitz.

Chapter Two: Dodging Bombs.

Chapter Three: Luxuries and Lifeboat Drills.

Chapter Four: The Eye of the Storm.

Chapter Five: The Sinking of the Benares.

Chapter Six: Beth and Bess and the Lifeboats.

Chapter Seven: Rescue.

Chapter Eight: The Twelfth Boat.

Chapter Nine: Homecomings.

Chapter Ten: The Aftermath.

Acknowledgements.

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Janet Menzies is a freelance journalist and winner of IPC magazine writer of the year 2005. She is a former woman’s editor of the Daily Express and was a columnist with the Daily Mail, as well as working for Hello! and for The Daily Telegraph. She has written three previous books. She was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Bath Spa.

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"...moving personal testimony..." (Blackpool Gazette, Nov 05)
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