- Francis, Richard
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
After the sinking of HMS Glorious with very heavy loss of life from exposure in Arctic waters, Ron Dowle explained that an admiral afterwards asked him what he would have liked to have seen supplied on the liferafts. His choice was chocolate – at least they could suck it and it is supposed to contain a lot of goodness. He also remarked that Carley floats should be painted a bright colour to stand out in most waters. When he eventually returned to sea service he states that Carley floats were then fitted with lockers on both sides. Chocolate was one of the foods supplied and the rafts were now painted a vivid yellow!
He describes his type of raft and why the few survivors’ feet were in such a state.
A Carley raft was an oval cylinder of metal construction about 18 feet long by 10 feet wide and about 18 inches in diameter. The body of the raft was covered with a thick layer of cork and then covered overall with heavy duty canvas. Around the cylinder, ropes were knotted and tied to an internal slatted horizontal framework of timber, forming a floor of the raft. Whichever way the raft hit the water, the slatted floor descended to form a deck, which gave some leg support, but it remained underwater hence their legs were continually immersed in the cold water.