Frank and Jackie Paxman find a torpedo
One day after Frank retired from working at the Treasury, we decided it was a nice day to go diving, We left home about 9 a.m. Went down to Fremantle and launched the boat.
We went over to the South side of Rottnest. Conditions were okay, so we fished there for a while. Then decided to go to the five fathom bank, but conditions were getting a bit rougher, so we came into more towards Carnac. I enjoyed the swimming, and got a couple of fish, then I wondered what Frank was up too. As I had not seen him for a while. I climbed back in the boat, a had a look around, then saw him some way off, signaling to me, to bring the boat over. I up anchored and started the motor, and approached him. He said I need a rope, so I found some rope in the back of the boat and passed it to him.
Then I was told to haul on it as hard as I could, luckily I was strong in those days. I hauled with all my might, and found whatever I was pulling was heavy. I said to Frank to get in the boat and help me, but he said that he didn't want to lose it, after a while I could see what looked like a cylinder in the water. It was about half as long as our boat, I kept pulling and eventually got it along side. I said to Frank is it really heavy, he said yes. So I told him to get in the boat to help me lift it, but he thought it would be better for him to stay in the water, and push from underneath.
Eventually it came into the boat, and I was underneath it gee it was heavy! I had a bit of a job getting out from under it, and Franks only help was to ask how I got where I was. Frank was busy taking positions as to where he had found two of these things, he actually wanted to get both of them in the boat, but I wasn't really interested in getting the other one, hence the taking of the position of it. The sea breeze was in by this time, and we really had a hard ride home to the beach. When I say hard ride, anyone who has been out with Frank, would know, he had only two speeds, flat out and stop.
Anyway we got home and Frank had a good look at it. It had some writing on it, I can't remember the exact words, they said it was property of the USA. Frank got in touch with the police, who got in touch with the Navy, who said they would come and collect it. Being late at night by this time, Frank parked the boat under our bedroom window. We had tea and went to bed. Next morning, Frank went to take the car to get some work done on it, and I was left home with the Monster.
About nine o'clock a big army truck arrived at our house, they asked where this object was. I told them, and they had a look at it. The truck had Red flags front and back, and Bomb disposal at the sides. The blokes said to me, we hope you traveled very gently bringing it back to land? I said We had had a fairly rough ride home, he said it was part of a torpedo, something to do with the detonation part of it. Anyway the last I saw of it was the truck gently going towards Beaufort St, with a Military motorbike escort!
We where told we were lucky it hadn't exploded while it was in the boat. Oh well, we survived that one o.k.