Herm Sulkers and Frank Sampson

I found this on the Internet…

This person talks about Herm Sulkers…

Until a few years ago, my family had very scant details of what happened to my Great Uncle Frank, during the sinking of the HMCS Athabaskan on April 29, 1944. Until the year 2000 my family was under the impression that there was no knowledge of my Great Uncles’ fate and that his body had never been recovered.

Very surprisingly, a great deal of new information came to light while watching a documentary called The Unlucky Lady, The Life And Death Of HMCS Athabaskan. It was broadcast on History Television here in Canada. Having lost a family member aboard the Athabaskan I have always been interested in the history of what happened to her. And so with that interest I sat down to watch this documentary one evening.

About half way through the documentary a gentleman named Herm Sulkers begins to describe an incident, after the ship was sunk, of trying on three separate occasions to save a man named Frank “Sammy” Sampson. Needless to say I was pretty dumbstruck, overwhelmed, and excited all at the same time. Here was a gentleman I did not know at all describing his heroic efforts to save my Great Uncle’s life. I would try and repeat his story here but the anguish this man suffered over the death of my Great Uncle can only be seen by watching the documentary. History Television airs the documentary from time to time. You can check their website for details from my links page. I highly suggest it. It is hard to believe what all of these men went through.

Due to his efforts Herm Sulkers has become one of my personal heroes. Not only for what he tried to do for my Great Uncle but also for the anguish he has suffered all of these years. I also hold all of the crew as personal heroes for the sacrifice they made.

Please visit his Website.

He has photos of his granduncle.

Frank Sampson

This is what I found on the Virtual War Memorial…

In memory of
Able Seaman
FRANCIS LEONARD  SAMPSON

who died on April 29, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: V/174
Age: 27
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S. Athabaskan

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
PLOUESCAT COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Finistere,France

Grave Reference: Row B. Grave 21.

It is the same cemetery where Louis Ledoux and Syd Cottrell are buried.

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8 thoughts on “Herm Sulkers and Frank Sampson

  1. On this day, the 29th of April, I do the same as I always do – I remind myself of what those brave men endured so long ago. I have come across your site before and never replied because I cannot do that without crying. My father told me many times of the day he tried to save “Sammy” and I know how devastated he was when he woke up to find him gone. I am truely sorry for your loss, and I know my dad was too…

  2. In your message, you do not mention where he was from. The name Sampson is found in Cape Breton, NS. Would he be from that area?

    1. I don’t believe Jane would know that answer.

      One of Sampson’s nephew had a webpage once. It’s no where to be found.

  3. Francis Leonard Sampson was my uncle he was my mother’s brother.
    Frank had 2 brothers and 2 sisters one named Mary my mother. His father’s name was Frank, his mother’s name was Minni. His father was born in L’Ardoise, Cape Breton, his mother in Souri, PEI.

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