President Warfield (Exodus) - Letter from British Navy
FROM A SECRET BRITISH ADMIRALTY REPORT
CONCERNING THE BOARDING OF “PRESIDENT WARFIELD” (“EXODUS 1947”)
20th July, 1947
1. I have the honour to submit the following report of the boarding of S.S. PRESIDENT WARFIELD ON THE MORNING OF 18TH July, 1947:
2. Boarding – I, with three of the reserve Boarding Party:-
Boarded the PRESIDENT WARFIELD on the boat deck just forward of saidships from the Flag Deck of CHILDERS on her third run in.
3. After boarding we dashed forward to the wheelhouse where we met E.R.A. Ravenscroft and A.B. Ainsley also of CHILDERS. Attempts to enter the wheelhouse failed and we ended up at the head of the main stairway.
4. We were joined more or less immediately by a fresh Boarding Party including one officer. Further attempts to make the wheelhouse resulted in the splitting of the party. Some apparently managed to get in through the door on the starboard side which incidentally was only kept open for a split second by the Boarding Parties already in the wheelhouse because of the number of missiles which were being hurled inside.
5. The remainder of us eventually found ourselves back at the head of the stairway. With me now were P.O. Feltham, badly hurt, and six others from different Boarding Parties. A group of rustlers were gathered at the foot of the stairway and more hostile Jews were on both sides of the Promenade Deck and also above us battering their way through the deckhead.
6. At first light a man heavily bandaged speaking with an American accent and answering to the name of “Murray” approached me in an hysterical manner. I gathered he was one of the crew and was scared of the ship sinking. He asked me if I could take him to see the Office in Command. I agreed to this because even if talking with the crew was of no avail, it gave me an opportunity of making contact with the wheelhouse and also to get some real idea of the opposition. “Murray” stopped all resistance and he and I went forward to the wheelhouse. We were joined by another member of the crew and eventually “Murray” produced the Captain who agreed to take the ship to Haifa under the orders of Lieutenant McPherson R.N.
7. There was no further fighting.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed), D.G. GILL
LIEUTENANT, ROYAL NAVY
1. The “President Warfield” was renamed “Exodus 1947”
2. “Murray” is American Machalnik Murray Aronoff.