EL GLOWWORM Y YO
por Pablo Huneeus
Mientras yo era parido en la esquina de avenida República esquina de Gorbea, en el Mar del Norte, frente a las costas de Noruega, era hundido el destroyer británico Glowworm.
Por rescatar a un marino que fue barrido de la cubierta en medio de un temporal desatado, se separó de la flota mayor. Solo, se encontró a boca de jarro con el crucero acorazado alemán Hipper. En desigual combate el Glowworm llegó a espolonear al Hipper antes de hundirse con la bandera al tope. Como creo ser la encarnación de uno de esos náufragos, he tratado de averiguar más de dicho buque y de su heroico final. Ayer dí con una web sobre el HMS Glowworm que mantiene el sobrino de uno de los marinos muertos en la ocasión. Es impresionante la historia, con fotos y todo, por lo que le he escrito la siguiente carta:
Mr. Steve Bell
I am a sociologist by training and writer by calling born in Santiago de Chile on April 8, 1940. All my life I have been inclined towards the ocean, having once sailed from Liverpool to Valparaiso on a cargo ship and owned a boat or two in the Patagonian archipelagos.
But also, all my life, deep in my spirit, I have been haunted by the queer itch that my soul sprang from the sea way up North, in freezing waters beaten by a heavy storm. Now and then I have fantasized with the idea that my anima originates in a British sailor, a pirate perhaps or gun runner who capsized with his steely cargo. Studying my family records I found out that my great grand father, Nathan Miers Cox served as a surgeon in the English frigate Phoebe, and was left ashore when she sailed from Valparaiso in 1807. Yet lately, I began to try to find out who was drowning at sea the very day I saw the light, for it might well be that a desperate soul before leaving the planet decided to reincarnate in this corner of the world. Then a friend who was in the Chilean Navy drew my attention to HMS Gurkha and HMS Glowworm, both sunk on Abril 1940. Maybe your Gurkha nature come from there, he joked on my birthday party.
Additional enquiries suggest that the destroyer Gurkha actually was torpedoed on the night of April 9, 1940, am I right? So I followed the gut feeling that led me towards this mysterious Glowworm sunk that year off the Norwegian coast on St. Constances day (April 8).
Then, last night I finally came across your web HMS GLOWWORM and I cant recover from the impression. What a brave battle! Chivalry, splendid seamanship, tender humanity and patriotism, all in a fight against Nazi power that cannot be forgotten by those of us who cherish freedom
Furthermore, the Glowworm ramming the German heavy cruiser Admiral von Hipper and later sinking without surrendering, reminds us Chileans of the 1879 Naval Combat of Iquique as we called it, when captain Arturo Prat, alone and outgunned in the wooden vessel Esmeralda took on the Peruvian iron clad Huascar, rammed her twice and sword in hand boarded the enemy ship, only to be machined gunned from a turret.
All this, in order to let you know how very grateful I am for the information you have set up in that web the possibility of housing one of those heroes raises my ego- and to inquire on any book, or further report that might have been written on the matter.