Monday, August 1, 2011


Stopping in Moncton, by chance I met my brother Bill on the platform of the railway station and there exchanged greetings and news.  Bill was in the Army, a solid looking member of the Provost Corps.  Although Bill was not riding any particular train at this time, some members of the Provost Corps and the Naval Shore Patrol had the task of policing trains, and often prowled up and down the moving trains, keeping a watchful eye on the members of the forces.  The necessity of the surveillance by the shore Patrol was sometimes a moot point.  This, with their cocky attitude, could be quite irritating.
            Arriving in Quebec City we were sent immediately to our places of employment.  Vesey and Cranfield were sent to the Port War Signal Station (PWSS) near St. Jean on the Isle of Orleans.  Adjacent to the PWSS was a battery of two 18-pounder mobile guns.  The battery was augmented by a large search-light which occasionally was used to sweep a path of brilliant light across the river from shore to shore.
            Bradley was sent to a small vessel, HMCS Chaleur, while I joined HMCS Madawaska - which could be called a sister ship of Chaleur.  Both were formerly RCMP vessels and were to be used on Ship Examination duties.  Since the vessels had been laid up for the winter, the new crews' first task was to get them in shape for a new season.  The smell of new paint soon reeked throughout Madawaska.  One distasteful job, on my part, was the cleaning-out of some left-over vegetables in the hold aft on the vessel.  The vegetables, which had lain in the hold during the winter, were now in the spring, a putrefying mess.  Their removal was somewhat of an accomplishment - a job that had to be done - but, of course, not for which few people would volunteer.
            The crew of Madawaska consisted of: one signalman named Jaggers; one telegraphist (myself); two seamen, Lefebvre and Gagnon; a motor mechanic, Petty Officer Hames; a cook; another Petty Officer as Coxswain; a chief Engineer; and a commanding officer, Skipper LePage.

            Periodically I will digress to keep my journal in perspective with other Canadian naval happenings during the war.
            In this regard, on 12 April 1941, in position 60 24 N 10 25 W, the flower class corvette Trillium underwent an air attack by a Focke-Wulf Kondor (FW 200), a German four-engine, long-range aircraft.  The corvette was part of the escort of convoy HX117, and at 1120 was stationed between the 6th and 7th columns when the aircraft was observed approaching on a bearing of Red 90.  The Kondor flew over at an altitude of 200 to 400 feet, dropping a number of bombs.  When the Kondor was over and between the 5th and 6th columns, Trillium opened fire with her Pom-Pom and port Hotchkiss machine gun, even firing one round from her 4-inch gun.  The enemy aircraft swerved to port, and passed ahead instead of over Trillium, apparently without suffering any significant damage.
            Other ships were firing also, as machine gun bullets, were flying over and around Trillium.  In fact, a number of fragments, apparently from the AA projectiles of the other ships, fell on her deck.  Altogether, casualties were inevitable.
            Thus, while operating the Trillium Pom-Pom, Able Seaman Donald Robertson was hit.  Although grievously wounded, he had to be dissuaded by the officer of quarters from returning to his post.  AB Robertson subsequently died and was later commended by his captain, Lt. Cdr. R.F. Harris, for his remarkable courage, fortitude, and cheerfulness during the action.
            At the beginning of the attack, a number of non-gunners had taken cover in the protected engine-room lobby of Trillium.  The door was left open briefly to admit a late arrival, when a projectile of undetermined nature struck the bulwark on the starboard quarter, filling the shelter with flying fragments.  Here, seven more ratings were wounded, two fatally.  One of these who died was Clifford H. Greenwood, Ordinary Telegraphist.
            Serving in Trillium at this time was Able Seaman Gilbert Sauve of Toronto.  He remembered that, on arrival in port, his three dead shipmates were buried solemnly at Stornoway, Scotland.  For Trillium, the Atlantic trip had really made her a battle veteran.  This was a far cry from her first crossing, when on her way to pick up a 4-inch gun at Paisley, Scotland, her only armament was several machine guns, a few depth charges, and a wooden gun up forward in place of the 4-incher.
            Another happening: on 30 April 1941, SS Nerissa, a troop-carrying ship, was torpedoed by U-552 not far from Northern Ireland in position 57 57 North 10 08 West.  Lost with her were Canadian Ordinary Telegraphists: G.R. Craig, age 18; W.H. Craig, age 20; J. Hutton, age 21; S.T. Kitching, age 20; H.R. Lester, age 18; R.R. McCrindle, age 20;  and A.R. Stinchcombe, age 20.

            In retrospect, to bring us further up to date, on 16 September 1939, convoy HX1 sailed from Halifax for the United Kingdom with local escorts, the destroyers St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Hope), and Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles).  On 10 December 1939 the first Canadian Troop Convoy sailed for Britain escorted out of Halifax by Ottawa (Capt. G.C. Jones), Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Holms), Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery) and St. Laurent.  Then on 25 May 1941, the first Canadian corvettes arrived in St. John's to establish the Newfoundland Escort Force, and on 14 June, the first group from this force sailed to protect a convoy.

            Eventually I would become a part of this illustrious force, but for the moment, the late spring of 1941, we were completing our final preparations for the strange duties ahead.
            These preparations - the cleaning, painting, storing of supplies - did not take too long, for the Madawaska was a small vessel, somewhat resembling a Motor Torpedo Boat.  It had a sleek appearance with a hull that was high forward and low aft, topped by a small wheelhouse amidships, surrounded by glass windows.  Down below and forward of the wheelhouse was a small galley.  Forward of the galley lay the sleeping quarters consisting of eight bunks, four on each side in tiers of two.  The senior quarters lay aft.
            On being declared ready, we were sent down the St. Lawrence River to St. Jean, on the Isle of Orleans.  This place was but a small village composed of a few summer cottages and year-round homes that straddled the road skirting the island.  Above the homes on one side of the road the land rose into rich farm land, while on the other side the back of the homes bordered the beach.  Poking its way into the wide river was the jetty.  Here, along with the Chaleur we took over the examination duties, working alternately 24 hours on and 24 off.
            Tied up at the jetty, the vessels would wait for inbound ships to come up river.  At the end of the jetty was a small wooden building with a beacon on top.  Inside the building was a telephone that was connected with the Port War Signal Station, about a mile or two down the island from St. Jean.  On the top floor of the building our signalman, or sometimes myself, kept telephone watch.  When the lookout at the Signal Station sighted a ship coming up river he would telephone us at St. Jean, and the duty examination vessel would put out to intercept the inbound ship.
            If the inbound vessel turned out to be a bateau it was not boarded.  Small and scow-like in appearance, bateaux were numerous on the river and normally carried pulp wood.  The information required of the craft was obtained by an exchange of shouts across the water, always prefaced by the shout of: "Où devenez-vous?" (Where are you from?)
            If the inbound vessel was a large ship we swung around and, running parallel with it, made ready to tie up alongside.  A heaving line would be thrown, and soon a stronger line had us hastened.  A ladder would be lowered and the duty examination officer (separate from the crew) would clamber aboard the ship.  During this stage I had the job of keeping a soft fender thrust strategically between the Madawaska and the towering steel sides of the ship as it continued on its way.  This fender was held by hand.  On a dark knight, with the water rushing madly between the vessels, this occupation could be rather risky, but fortunately no accident ever did happen.
            When the examination officer returned with all the particulars of the ship, crew, and cargo, we cast off.  The information obtained was then passed by flashing light, semaphore, or Radio Telephone to the PWSS personnel, who relayed it to naval control authorities at Quebec and Montreal.
            An Aldis lamp was used to transmit the messages by flashing, and the FR12 was available for transmitting by voice, but it was rarely used.  However, during the lonely hours of a night watch, I would occasionally flick on the switch of this battery-operated set and search for telltale signals through the crackle of static.  It was an adventure to be propelled on electronic wings to strange and distant shores.
            The Marconi FR12 was a small, compact Transmitter-Receiver, designed for transmitting on four crystal frequencies selected from the Low Frequency band of 375 to 500 Kilocycles, and from the High Frequency band of 1600 to 4500 Kilocycles.  The types of emission were Continuous Wave (CW), Modulated Continuous Wave (MCW), and Radio Telephone (R/T).  The power output was 12 to 15 watts on CW and a little less on MCW and R/T.  The range in miles was approximately 20 miles on Low Frequency, and variable on High Frequency.  The receiving of morse and voice was accomplished in three bands stretching from 300 to 4200 Kilocycles.  I was to learn later that this type of set was being used extensively in Canadian escort vessels on the North Atlantic convoy run, for I would get to use it there myself.
            After each examination chore we returned to the jetty and tied up.  All of this involved works of seamanship, such as coiling ropes, throwing heaving lines, using springs, head and stern ropes - in all a job at which I, a sparker, became fairly adept.
            In the summer an ex-tug, the Macsin, joined us in the examination duties.  The addition of the Macsin was more than welcome, for it meant that each vessel would be working 24 hours on and 48 off.
            The Madawaska went into Quebec City about once a week for oil and water.  Our food supplies were sent to us at St. Jean by station-wagon.  Often when I was off duty I rode into Quebec City as a passenger in this vehicle on its return trip.  We travelled from St. Jean through picturesque farmland down to the village of St. Laurent, then across the island to the long bridge connecting the island with the mainland, across the bridge and through peaceful Montmorency to the city.
            The city of Quebec was a delightful place to visit.  Old houses, narrow streets, cannon and battlements - all besprinkled the historical city with colour of bygone days.  Often I strolled along the Ramparts overlooking Lower Town, or mingled with tourists on the Terrace in front of the hotel, Chateau Frontenac.  From the terrace I walked along the Heights to the Plains of Abraham where long ago Generals Wolfe and Montcalm met in mortal combat.  I traversed the hallowed grounds where the famous English-French battle was fought, and saw the monuments commemorating the two unforgotten heroes.  Indeed, I always enjoyed myself there.
            On one visit I picked up a new tailor-made uniform that I had ordered on a previous trip.  This, my first "tiddley", was made of blue serge and, naturally, was much better than the irritatingly coarse type that was issued.
            The other men found Quebec city just as attractive, but it was not always so, because on one occasion Lefebvre and Gagnon came to grief at the hands of some taxi drivers who ganged up on them for some unknown reason.  Both men returned to the Madawaska with bruised faces and blackened eyes.  It seemed more amusing than harmful.
            Although the city had its many attractions, much of my time, however, was spent at St. Jean - mainly swimming from the nice sandy beach adjacent the jetty, or diving from the jetty or the boat itself.  Of course, there were trips to the village where I enjoyed the acquaintance of several young ladies, one of whom was a lovely girl, Therese, who was the daughter of one of the men serving at the Signal Station.  On one trip, indicative of the friendliness of the villagers, some of us off the Madawaska were made welcome at a wedding reception.  On this occasion my ability to jitterbug was an asset.
            On Sundays I went to Mass in the small stone church at the end of the village: a convenient location and not too far to walk.  The only drawback, if I may call in that, was that the sermon was delivered in the French language, in which my proficiency in speaking was limited to only a few words.  Lack of French, I might add, did not present much of a problem on board ship where there was sufficient rapport for living together and carrying out the necessary tasks - considering that Hames and I did not speak French, while all the others did.
            In July I managed to get home on leave for a few days.  I had a wonderful time sporting around Milford, in Saint John West, with my friend, Joe McGovern, and some of the local girls.  Swimming was the big pastime, and compared to the warm St. Lawrence the St. John River at Milford was a salty, delightfully cool spot.
            Back at St. Jean, a report of an accident startled our crew one night.  Our captain, Skipper LePage, had received a telephone message from the Port War Signal Station and ordered to go to the assistance of Chaleur which had been rammed by a bateau, and a man knocked overboard.
            We quickly let go the ropes and sped away from the jetty.  It was a dark night, and in the distance we could see lights playing on the smooth water.  Before we arrived, however, they had fished the unfortunate fellow out, apparently suffering no ill effects.  Chaleur, herself, did suffer some damage and had to go on the slips for about three weeks of repairs.  In the meantime, Madawaska had to take the strain.

            On 10 September, in the North Atlantic, the escorts of convoy SC42: destroyer Skeena (Lt. Cdr. J. Hibbard), and the three corvettes, Alberni (Lt. Cdr. G.O. Baugh), Kenogami (Lt. Cdr. R. Jackson), and Orillia (Lt. Cdr.  W.E.S. Briggs), were having an exasperating time defending their 64 UK-bound merchant ships. On the 8th Skeena made a signal to the Commander in Chief, Western Approaches, reporting the convoy to be 72 hours late at the eastern rendezvous. Very great difficulty was experienced in passing this signal. (Normally when calling a shore station, a ship would indicate in its call what broadcast she was listening to.) The following stations—GYE, VAS, MAS, CFH, GZZ, CYWH, OYO6—were called between 2200Z on the 7th and 0655Z on the 8th when OY Gibraltar, received the signal, strength 5. Skeena’s position was 58 01N 43 42W, somewhat near Cape Farewell, Greenland. Earlier, a U-boat group known as Markgraf was assembled southwest of Iceland.  It consisted of U-38, 43, 81, 82, 84, 85, 105, 202, 207, 432, 433, 501, 569, and 652.  In the afternoon of 9 September, U-85 (KL Gregor) sighted the slow, plodding SC42 and, though making an unsuccessful attack, was responsible for bringing in other U-boats.  Subsequently the brilliant, moonlit night of the 9th/10th disintegrated into a fearful hodgepodge of lights, star shells, tracer bullets, torpedoes, distress rockets - and sinking ships.
            The harried convoy sought safety in emergency turns while the darting escorts tried frantically to ward off the attackers.  But the bold U-boats were everywhere.  Some attacked from the rim while others, slithering between the columns, fired deadly pot shots that left the sea littered with bobbing boats and rafts.
            U-432 (KL Schultze) sank two ships; U-652 torpedoed a freighter and a tanker - the latter ship was later taken under tow by the corvette Orillia; U-432 sank two ships after earlier misses; U-81 got credit for one, while U-82 (KL Rollmann) sank a CAM (Catapult Aircraft Merchantman) ship and (fortunately for Canadians) missed with an attack on the destroyer Skeena (a ship I was to join later).
            During the day U-85 attacked twice and sank one ship.
            Around midnight of the 10th/11th, the beleaguered ships were being administered further punishment when two more corvettes, Chambly (Cdr. J.D. Prentice), and Moose Jaw (Lt. F.E. Grubb), joined the convoy:  a most opportune time it turned out to be, for it resulted in the sinking of a U-boat.  For a long while it was thought to be the first sinking of a U-boat by the RCN. But that changed in the eighties when a reassessment of records gave credit to the destroyers Ottawa and Harvester (RN) for sinking the Italian submarine Faa di Bruno on 8 November 1940.
            Approaching the convoy from ahead, the two corvettes sighted white rockets indicating a ship had been torpedoed.  While racing to the position, Chambly picked up an Asdic contact.  With Moose Jaw nearby, Chambly closed the contact and dropped depth charges.
            Serving in Chambly at the time were sparkers: V. Currie, H. Churchill, W. Henshaw, and R. Bristow.  Heading the Visual Signalmen was Leading Signalman Albert Bonner of Saint John, N.B.  Al saw distinguished service in the war, winning a Mention in Despatches and the British Empire Medal.  In the post war era, he returned to the Navy after a temporary absence, won a Distinguished Service Medal in the Korean War, and rose through the ranks to retire as a Lieutenant-Commander in 1967.
            Heading the Visual Sigs in Moose Jaw was Ed Pratt, VS Three.  The sparkers were; W. Cranston, A. Maynard, H. McCarthy, and S. Noble.
            Also in Moose Jaw at the time was my home-town chum, Stoker Huck LeClair.  He was part of an engine room staff composed of Stokers: Jim Wallace, Tony Burke, Fred Alcock, John Kiggins, George Gallagher, Don McKeachnie, and Bill Berry; and Engine Room Artificers:  John McLennan, Ernie Brown, Wilf Durston, Almer Graham, Clarence MacDonald, and Louis Chevalier.
            Huck LeClair remembered the ensuing action vividly:
   "I had just come off watch at eight in the evening, and later was having a sandwich down in the stoker's mess when the action stations alarm bell sounded.  I dashed to my action station at number 5 depth charge rack, starboard side aft.
               "We dropped a pattern of charges and waited a few moments.  Then someone shouted, 'There she is!'  The U-boat had surfaced, and when we turned our searchlight on it we saw that the conning tower was crowded with Germans.  Our old man was hollering through a megaphone to them, but the Germans just stood there screaming and waving their hands.  Finally our captain gave orders to fire one across the U-boat's bow - and we did.  The orders were given to prepare for ramming.
               "At the moment of ramming, the U-boat commander leaped from his conning tower onto our forward deck.  He was the first prisoner on board.  It was learned later that his name was Hugo Forster, he was 35 years old, and had lived in London for six years.  His boat was the U-501, and this was its first - and last operational cruise.
               "During the action our searchlight was lit for a considerable length of time, and Skeena, who was Senior Officer, kept signalling us to turn off our light and take up our convoy position.  But we couldn't do this because we had stopped engines to pick up survivors, and we were reluctant to start them again as four or five Germans were clinging to our propeller blades for dear life!  Eventually a rope ladder was lowered and Coder George Guthrie descended it.  George, who could speak German, was able to convince the nervous survivors in coming up on deck.
               "At the time, we had a small pup on board for a mascot.  He was appropriately called 'Moose', and for the remaining five days of the trip, he stayed with the German prisoners aft.
               "Those five days were indeed hectic days.  Our bow was caved in from the ramming, which made it necessary to shore up the chain locker to prevent the sea from bursting through.  We were running short of provisions because of the large number of survivors.  In addition to the Germans, we had on board English, French, Norwegian, and Hindu merchant sailors: a total of about 50 from sunken vessels.  To compound matters, we had to be constantly on guard as the merchant sailors were all trying to get back at the German prisoners.
               "At the outset, Ottawa wanted us to return to Halifax with the prisoners, apparently to enhance a government bond drive.  But because of our condition and nearness to the UK, Admiralty ordered us to Scotland, where we eventually arrived, landing the merchant sailors at Lock Ewe and the Germans at Greennock."
            Moose Jaw and Chambly had rejoined the SC42 convoy, of course, to do battle with more attacking U-boats during that first night.  For the enemy the darkness brought further successes.  U-82 torpedoed four more ships; one of these was later given the coup de grace by U-433.  U-207 sank three; but, in other attacks, U-202, U-432 and U-652 were unsuccessful.
            On the 11th the convoy was joined by a support force consisting of the Canadian corvette Wetaskiwin (Lt. Cdr. G. Windeyer), the British destroyers Douglas, Leamington, Saladin, Skate, and Veteran, the corvette Gladiolus, the trawler Buttermere, and the Free French corvette Mimosa.  This support was augmented by covering aircraft of 120 Squadron RAF from Iceland.
            The gap left by the corvette Orillia, which was escorting the damaged tanker to Iceland, was more than filled.  The destroyers Veteran and Leamington promptly destroyed another U-boat, U-207.
            But still the enemy kept up the pressure with U-652 making an unsuccessful attack.  Then U-105 sank one ship, and U-202 sank another which had been torpedoed earlier by U-82.
            During the night of the 11th/12th, U-84 and U-43 made unsuccessful attacks.
            For the next two days at least six U-boats were operating against the convoy, but between being driven off by the escorts and thwarted by the low visibility the operations were finally broken off.  In all, the U-boats had sunk 16 ships from SC42.  It was a momentous battle.
            Later in September, on the 19th, while escorting convoy SC44 the Canadian corvette Levis (Lt. C.W. Gilding) was torpedoed and sunk by U-74 (KK E.F. Kentrat) in the general position of 61 North 35 West.  Telegraphist Daniel A. Craig, of Dauphin, Manitoba, was among those lost.  The duty operator at the time, Telegraphist John P. Brisbois, of Mimico, Ontario, survived the sinking as did Telegraphist T.O. Rex Keeting, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Tel Emile Beaudoin, of Sainte Foy, Quebec.
            Emile, who graduated two wireless classes after me in 1941, in T class, was off watch and asleep on the lockers when the ship was hit.  He was rescued by the corvette Mayflower (Lt. Cdr. G.H. Stephen), and afterwards spent four months in hospital in Iceland.  Later he served in the destroyer HMS Burnham, the corvette Sackville, minesweepers Thunder and Gananoque, and the troopship SS Andes.  He led almost a charmed life, until he joined the ill-fated destroyer Athabaskan in 1943.  With the sinking of that ship in 1944; Emile's varied telegraphy career ended as a prisoner of war; but more on that later.
            On 2 May 1942, in what could be called retribution for the loss of Levis, U-74 was sunk with all hands off Cartagena in position 37 32 North 00 10 East, by aircraft and the British destroyers Wishart and Wrestler.

            In the fall, the summer residents around St. Jean moved back to the city, and the village became a dreary and moribund place.  To avoid lethargy, we contented ourselves with puerile swiping of apples from the trees of nearby farmers.  One day, Charlie Oickle, our cook, and I helped a neighbouring little old lady to pick some crab apples.  In return, the lady accompanied us on a private tour through the Mauvide-Genest Manor, a historical house built in 1734 on the outskirts of St. Jean.  The inside contained old cooking implements, furniture, portraits and other relics of the past.  On the outside of the walls, which were about two feet thick, one could see the dents made by English cannon balls of the fleet of Admiral Saunders who was supporting General Wolfe in his 1759 siege of Quebec City.
            With the fall also came duck-hunting season and the day an unlucky duck landed near the Madawaska.  We, who had never fired a shot in anger, unlimbered our big guns: .303 rifles.  The Chief Engineer and the Coxswain were the trigger men.  Taking aim, they fired.  One of them hit the duck, but as both fired simultaneously it was difficult to assess credit for the marksmanship.  Another lad and I rowed the life-boat out and picked it up.  The next day we had duck for dinner.
            The Madawaska carried one cook in its crew.  During the whole season we had five or six different cooks; sometimes we did not have any.  After a short stay the cook would be drafted.  Consequently, even I tried my hand at the culinary art.  I tried pie-making, but my pastry was terrible.  I attempted a special stew using a Toronto Star recipe.  It also was a disaster.
            Late in the fall was smelt-fishing time and every one of the crew turned their energy to this sport.  The inevitable result was fish for breakfast, fish for dinner, and fish for supper, as side dishes to our regular meals.  Often during the lonely hours while on night watch, I fished off the stern of the vessel.
            One day in November I was the victim of a slight mishap.  I was tiddley-dressed to go ashore when the skipper, wanting the Madawaska to shift to the other side of the jetty, asked me to let go the ropes.  I prepared to do so, and approaching the stern rope first, I began to walk along the edge of the jetty.  At one point, forcing me close to the edge, was a pile of rocks placed there by men repairing the jetty.  I let go the rope, and was starting back when suddenly my foot struck a rock or pebble.  I lost my balance and began to fall.  My arms waved frantically as I tried to grab the jetty.  I missed, and down I plunged into the cold murky water.
            For an instant my breath was taken away, and as I surfaced, my arms and legs flailed the water.  I gained a hold on the jetty and hung there gasping.  After a short while I pulled myself up the rest of the way and sloshed back to the ship to change my clothes.  I was thankful I hadn't drowned.
            Once during the fall a violent storm engulfed us.  The rain poured in torrents from the sky, and the wind roared, lashing the river into a boiling eruption.  The Macsin, being a larger vessel, took over all the examination duties - but it was even too rough for her around St. Jean, so she had to go up river past St. Laurent to carry out her job.  The Chaleur was in Quebec at the time and was compelled to stay there.  The Madawaska couldn't move from St. Jean, but remained tied to the leeward side of the jetty with all the ropes in our possession.
            A few times I ventured into the village to go to the store.  During this time, the waves beat over the jetty, cascading the water high in the air, so that I had to run through a steady force of wind and water before being free of the jetty.  The storm finally abated after about three days, and the duties carried on.
            In November, the first snow came and the river showed signs of freezing over.  Late in this month our examination duties were completed; our vessel was put up on the slip at St. Laurent, and I was drafted to HMCS Chaleur II, a shore establishment in Quebec City.

            In the city I stayed at the newly built barracks near the river.  Here I had my initiation in sleeping in a hammock, strung high off the deck between metal piping.
            I worked in the Wireless Telegraph station located near the barracks, in a building housing the Naval Control Service Officer.  During my enjoyable stay there, I gained much needed experience in morse receiving, although mostly I was kept busy with transmitting.  The station, with its transmitter and receivers, was situated in a cozy little room on the top floor of the building.
            At the station were six operators:  Leading Telegraphist Doug Barret, from Quebec City; Telegraphists Steve Nahirni, Louis Groulz, and Cranfield from Montreal; Chuck Bradley from Woodstock, Ontario; and, myself.  Cranfield was drafted to the last new corvette to go down to the East Coast before the final freeze-up.  Indeed, the river was ice-packed when the corvette sailed away from Quebec, preceded by a Government ice-breaker.  By the spring of 42 the staff at the W/T station consisted of Barret and Tels Sugerman, Willoby, Bill Irvine, Charlie Callaghan, Charlie Isles and Claude Scobie.  In the spring of 43 Tel Scobie found himself at Rimouski W/T shore station where the CO was Lt. G.E. Gaudreau, along with Sub-Lt. J.K. Mowat, Ltel Nickerson, Ltel Jim Wocks, Winnipeg MB, Tels Rowe Hamilton, Thunder Bay ON, Laurie Dupont, Montreal QC, and Cliff Cartmell, Sault Ste Marie.  The Visual Signalmen were Jack McClelland, Toronto, Bob Petrey, Toronto, and Ron Fretts, Medicine Hat AB.  The staff was augmented by about five female teletype operators. Rimouski was linked with other shore stations along the St. Lawrence and communicated with naval ships in the river and gulf by W/T and lamp.
            It is interesting to note that Claude Scobie, now of Regina, later served in the corvette Chambly where he remembers serving with Ltels Clyde Harrington and Pettifor, and Tels Cliff Cartmell, Les Hunt, Doug Groff and Bob Smith.  After the war, in April 1952, Claude received a cheque for $16.52 (5 shares @ $3.302 per share) from Salvage Money awarded to the ship’s company of HMCS Chambly for service rendered to SS   Scorton off the northeast coast of Ireland during the period 24 to 26 May 1944.  Somewhat unusual.

            On 7 December a new dimension was added to the role of the serviceman when Canada declared war on Japan.  I had not followed the Pacific happenings too closely, therefore the news came with surprising suddenness.  However, I was not affected too emotionally by it.
            On this same day, the 7th, the corvette Windflower (Lt. J. Price) was lost in collision with SS Zypenburg on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.  Going down with the corvette were Telegraphists A.L. Hare, age 20, and C.C. Paterson, age 24.

            Quebec City, during the winter months, was just as nice as it was during the summer.  My stay, although brief, was thoroughly enjoyed, especially since it was enhanced by a new friend in the person of Geraldine Labbe.  Incapable as I was in speaking French, her parents graciously forbid French being spoken in my presence whenever I visited their home.  Although I would not have minded if they had, it was certainly a nice act of courtesy.
            Early in January I departed on leave.  The train was so crowded I had to sit in the aisle on my small brown attache-case for most of the journey.  I arrived in Moncton about 9 o'clock in the evening and, discovering the train for Saint John would not leave until 5 o'clock the next morning, I took a bus which left Moncton at 10:15 p.m.  The bus was an old rickety model and I shivered from the cold of the wintery night through all of the trip.  I arrived home safely, however, at the unusual hour of two in the morning.

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