Third Officer Joe Wharton left New York with the British merchant ship Empire Mersey, as part of Convoy SC104. His ship encountered U-618 in the dark Atlantic night. Third Officer of the Empire Mersey, Joe Wharton, who survived a torpedo attack and a dip in the icy Atlantic, and who lived to meet the Commander who sank his ship. “At about 02:30 am on the morning of the 14th October, some 400 miles south of Cape Farewell, Greenland, the Empire Mersey met her fate. With an unholy crash, the ship shuddered and lurched over to port. Slowly she recovered, but started to go down by the head. 'Sparks' sent out the SOS and the order was given to abandon ship. My boat was being lowered down into the water with heavy seas running. Inadvertently, the forr'd fall was let go, and the boat crashed down into the water with the after fall still secured. We were all flung into the water and it was every man for himself. I was wearing a pair of long-johns, a sweater and a uniform, together with a duffle coat on top of which I had my lifejacket. My thoughts were dreamy ones of home, my mother and sister, how they would be asleep in bed, and here I was, with some 5000 fathoms of water beneath my feet, on the point of drowning in the north Atlantic. To hell with that for a game of soldiers. I kicked off my boots, tore off my panic bag and paddled about desperately until I came across the canvas cover containing the boat mast and sail, which I clung to grimly. Around me in the water were some other crew members, crying for help, some were just floating in the water dead, but the red lights on their jackets were still burning. I was joined by one of the sailors, Batchelor. After what seemed an age, we were carried alongside the 2nd Mate's boat, and hauled aboard. In the galley of U-373, a young cook concocts the dish of the day. A lighted hob was a fire risk and had to be put out if action stations were sounded. On British vessels at least the crew knew that they were in for corned beef sandwiches. The boat's crew whistled to attract the attention of the rescue ship. She made some kind of lee, and our lifeboat came up on her port side, where she had the scrambling nets out. Searchlights were playing over the whole scene and as we were washed alongside, one of the survivors made a grab for the net but just a fraction late. Before he could get a firm footing, the boat had fallen away, leaving him dangling. Up came the boat, broaching hard against the side of Gothland, crushing his head to a pulp. Due to exposure and cold, having been in the icy water, I was unable to stand, let alone climb the scrambling net. A rope was passed under my armpits and I was hauled aboard, seized by two able hands and then carried down below to the fuggy warmth of the sick bay. After being stripped of my sodden clothing, I was towelled down with a rough Turkish towel. The air was blue, not to mention my skin!” A U-boat's gun crew check their weapon. As RAF Coastal Command's tactics and aircraft evolved to be better suited to antisubmarine work, the gunners' job became more critical.