The Biggs' Boys

By Ken Stofer

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

Biography of Carl Burnip

Merchant Seaman, SS Nikos T, Aircrew, RCAF

   I was born and raised in Nanaimo, British Columbia. A close friend John McKay and myself were interviewed in Port Alberni by Seymour-Biggs and made the decision to join the RAF paying our own expenses.

    There was a favourable time lapse in which we were given the opportunity to raise the required funds to cover our expenses by working in the interim.

    I believe John finally borrowed funds from his parents who operated a local grocery store. As the time of departure neared I could see I was not going to be able to come up with the necessary cash. I was forced to seek an alternative.

    I had friends in the ship brokerage business, so approached them with my dilemma. They did some checking and arranged for me to sign on as crewman on a Greek freighter called Nikos `T' bound for England loaded with lumber.

    I departed from Port Alberni and travelled through the Panama Canal to Port Royal, Jamaica for bunkers - left Jamaica and headed into the North Atlantic. On the way up the east coast as luck would have it I was stricken with appendicitis and was hurriedly put ashore at Hamilton, Bermuda. I had to leave some of my belongings behind.

    The Nikos `T' put to sea and joined a convoy. Three days later it was torpedoed and sunk with all hands lost (plus my camera).

    My appendix operation was carried out and after convalescence I returned home via St. John's Newfoundland to Montreal and via rail back to the West.

    I took a job for a while and then decided to join the RCAF the beginning of 1942 and was accepted as aircrew. I was in Winnipeg one day walking out across the tarmac to the aircraft to go on a training op. One of the tower personnel noted I was limping. I was called back and temporarily withdrawn from operations that day. The craft took off with a replacement. It crashed and all aboard were killed. Such is fate.

----- Carl Burnip

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

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