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.
He has photos of his granduncle.
This is what I found on the Virtual War Memorial…
In memory of
FRANCIS LEONARD SAMPSON
who died on April 29, 1944
- Service Number: V/174
- Age: 27
- Force: Navy
- Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
- Division: H.M.C.S. Athabaskan
PLOUESCAT COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Grave Reference: Row B. Grave 21.