We had almost made the trip across and would have made Liverpool in another day but we ran into a storm soon after sun up and could make very little headway. We were just off the coast of the Isle of Islay, a small Scottish Island where this accident occurred.
All of the fellows were down in the hole as we had just about finished up with our breakfast and hardly anybody knew that we were in a storm, although the ship was rocking from side to side so much that nothing would stay on the tables. All of a sudden there was a terrific jar and the ship trembled all over, so everybody who had been very quiet and who had shown no uneasiness now gave a big rush to go up on deck, but all of us were told to be quiet as there was nothing the matter so everybody sat down again and in about 15 to 20 minutes word came down to us to get up on deck immediately. Everybody went up leaving behind all their equipment and personal belongings. When we came out on deck the wind was blowing at the rate of 70 to 75 miles an hour, probably more or less, but a fellow would have to hold to ropes or something to keep from being blown overboard. Nobody I think knew what condition the ship was in for if they had known I am sure there would have been more excitement or panic among the men. The ship had been struck by another ship of the convoy, “The Kasmir”, which during the storm had heavy fog collided with us. I heard afterward the storm broke the rudder and control of the Kasmir was lost by the Captain and it came direct to us hitting the “Otranto” between amidship and bow on port side or left hand side ripping a terrible hole in the side and at the same time killing several of the fellows who were sick and in the hospital.