The article ‘More Manx Matters’ in recent editions of Sea Breezes, particularly the Ben-my-Chree, was of interest in more ways than one.
My father, an NCO during the Second World War, was preparing his unit for transit to France in the D Day landings. Some of his men were not good seafarers and were raising concerns about the journey across the channel – worried they might have to brave the waves in landing craft. To allay their fears, my father told them that they would more than likely be travelling on a much larger ship.
As most were from the North and would be cognisant with the Isle of Man, he cited the Ben-my-Chree as a possible ferry which seemed to calm nerves. When they got to the dock there, in all its glory, was the Ben-my-Chree waiting for them. Word of his psychic powers travelled and soon after boarding he was summoned to the Captain’s cabin where he was given a severe grilling by security officers wanting to know how he managed to penetrate D Day secrets.
Eventually, he convinced them he was not a threat to national security and was allowed to continue, albeit they made him “ship’s orderly Sergeant” for the journey which kept him out of trouble until they landed.