Émile Beaudoin

We don’t talk much about Émile Beaudoin on the Internet…


From 1942 to 1945, Canada issued a postage stamp depicting  a Tribal on trials. It is commonly known that the ship depicted on the stamp is HMS Cossack but it is widely believed that it was supposed to represent HMCS Iroquois possibly Atrhabaskan. Laurie Farrington, a naval historian and writer provides this explanation for the stamp.

“It has been suggested the 1942 Canadian one dollar destroyer stamp was a Canadian Tribal Class destroyer, either HMCS Iroquois or Athabaskan. Indeed, one book ­ Unlucky Lady: The Life and Death of HMCS Athabaskan 1940-44  by Len Burrow and Emile Beaudoin published in 1982 ­ includes a photograph of the 1942 $1.00 stamp and describes it as Iroquois at speed. The construction of both Iroquois and Athabaskan began in 1940 in the United Kingdom and Iroquois was the first Canadian Tribal to be commissioned in late 1942. After air raids which damaged Iroquois,  the unscathed Athabaskan was renamed Iroquois so that launching schedules could remain unchanged. It has been suggested that possibly the air raids, the resulting delays in construction and the interchange of names between Canada’s first two Tribals may have precluded using one of them as the model for the stamp. The $1.00 stamp was issued 1 July, 1942, before either Iroquois or Athabaskan was commissioned, so one could not really expect a photograph of either ship was used as the model of the stamp. So which Tribal Class destroyer was used?

Research  at the Canadian Postal Archives, National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, has confirmed that neither Iroquois  (G89) , commissioned in November, 1942, nor Athabaskan ( G07), commissioned in  February 1943, was depicted in the one dollar stamp. HMS Cossack served as the actual model for the one dollar stamp.  According to researchers it had been the intention to use a Canadian Tribal Class destroyer in the new 1942 stamp series which reflected Canada’s share in the war, with special emphasis on our armed forces, munitions, war supplies, ship-building and agriculture. However, a photograph of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cossack was chosen by the  stamp artist. The ship’s number L03 was that of Cossack which had been built in 1938 .

In February 1940 Cossack achieved fame by entering a Norwegian fiord to rescue British seamen (from ships sunk by the Admiral Graf Spee) held prisoner m the supply ship Altmark. In  April she was involved in the second Battle of Narvik and in May the destruction of the Bismarck. Finally, on 11 November 1941 the Cossack was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic with heavy loss of  her crew. Thus when the Canadian $1.00 stamp appeared on 1 July, 1942, the ship which provided the photograph model for the stamp had been sunk eight months earlier. Perhaps naval intelligence had proposed that Cossack should be resurrected in stamp form in 1942 to confuse the enemy”.

Except on this blog Lest We Forget and its French version Souvenirs de guerre

I just bought Sherry Pringle’s book about the Athabaskan,

Emile Beaudoin’s nephew sent me a message…

I told him he could contact her and also Sébastien Vincent who interviewed Raymond Meloche also a sailor on the Athabaskan.

I am just waiting for permission to go full ahead one-third… on this story.

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