Fred Steels spent over a week drifting in a lifeboat
On 17 September 1940 the liner SS City of Benares, bound from Liverpool to Canada carrying young evacuees, was torpedoed by a German U-boat.
Fred Steels from Eastleigh was an 11-year-old evacuee. He spent nine days in the Atlantic drifting on a lifeboat.
"The water was that rough some of the boats were just being picked up and turned over," he recalled.
Torpedoed at 2230, most of the passengers were in their cabins. Of the 90 children onboard, 77 died.
When Britain faced the Blitz in World War II, the government decided it would send children from towns and cities vulnerable to bombing to safety in Canada.
The steam ship had left Liverpool on Friday 13 September on its 2,500 mile (4,023km) voyage with 400 passengers.
Four days into its journey, it was holed by the German submarine's torpedo and sank in the early hours of 18 September, 600 miles (965km) off Ireland.
Now 81, Fred Steels remembers being thrown into a lifeboat by a sailor: "The boat was tipping, slinging everybody out," he said.
The lifeboat was spotted in the Atlantic by a RAF plane
Fred spent more than a week after the sinking drifting in the lifeboat with 40 adults and six other children.
"We were virtually out of water and food, what was left the crew in the stern were giving to us kids," he remembers.
"They tried to collect any rainwater they could on the sails, but the trouble is as soon as it hit the sail it was salt, so we couldn't use it," he added.
They were spotted by a RAF pilot flying more than 500 miles (804km) out to sea.
Once safely home, Fred was reunited with his mother and was sent letters, cards and pocket money from all over the world.
The sinking of SS City of Benares resulted in the total cancellation of the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB) war-time plan to relocate British children abroad.