My name is Phillip Herbert Etter. I’m a native of Halifax. I joined Her Majesty’s Number One Canadian hospital ship, Lady Nelson, on April 21, 1943, and made several Atlantic crossings, a total of 160,000 sea miles. The route was out of Halifax to the Mediterranean, touching Gibraltar, Algiers, Ohran, and Naples. At those ports we would pick up the boys from the battlefields and transport them to an English port, Southampton, London or Liverpool, and then pick up a load of convalescents for transportation back to Halifax or Montreal.
It just so happened we were in the Bay of Naples on March the 17th and March 18, 1944. And just as we were leaving on the 18th, Vesuvius started to erupt. And the ash from the fiery eruption covered our beautiful white ship. The event prompted me to offer a poem. It’s entitled “On the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius”. (more…)