While conducting research on the Athabaskan, I found this small photograph of the crew members of the Athabaskan on this Website…
It was quite small.
The photo was on this image…
This sailor is the Website owner’s uncle… and his site pays homage to Stuart A. Kettles.
Stuart A. Kettles
I wrote his nephew to get a copy of the picture.
I keep my fingers crossed…
Stuart Alexander Kettles was a leading writer on the Athabaskan.
This site is packed with precious information about the sailors, the Athabaskan and the sinking that occured on April 29, 1944.
What is most interesting is the life of the prisoners taken to Germany.
This is an excerpt…
In the early days of our captivity. ferocious, trained police dogs were employed to guard the prisoners but by judicious, surreptitious use of food and petting their ferocity melted away. One day the German guards entering the barracks were shocked to find several of their man-eating dogs lying under the bunks with the men licking their faces. The guards promptly posted a notice in English that the dogs were absolutely forbidden to accept food from the prisoners.
As Germany’s manpower dwindled younger guards were sent off to the army, replaced by aging veterans of 1918. When food packages for seamen arrived at the village three miles distant, a detail of POW’s was sent under these guards to bring them in. The walk frequently proved too strenuous for the decrepit jailers and seamen would carry their rifles for them and give them lifts in the carts. Before arriving back at camp they would help the guards from the carts, button their tunics, smarten them up and generally hand back their rifles, to make sure they would not be replaced by younger, hard-boiled guards.
When I told my wife about this she said it was like an episode of Hogan’s Heroes…
I also went and looked at the guest book on the Website. I found people had left messages with their e-mail address.
I wrote to some people who said they had relatives that were on board the Athabaskan. Among them Herm Sulkers’s daughter and Jim Lesperance’s son.
See you next time
You can contact me by writing a comment in the comment section below if you have more information on Leading Writer Stuart Alexander Kettles.