Checking the Pipes

In 2009, Pierre Bachant did not say much about the sinking, but he talked a little bit about the pipes.


How come my wife’s uncle would know about the pipes if he had made up a story about being in the engine room on April 29, 1944?

I took this picture in 2011 when I visited HMCS Haida in Hamilton to look for pipes.

Then I went searching the Internet for pipes and Admiralty Three-drum boiler…  and found these.



My wife’s uncle was telling us that they used to drop steel balls into the pipes to see if they were clogged.

How can someone make that up?

Hard to make up such a story. So even if his name is not on the “official” list of sailors on board that fateful day of April 29, 1944, just like Ernest Anderson’s name, now I can safely assume my wife’s uncle was on board HMCS Athabaskan on April 29, 1944, and that he never made that story up.

Of course I knew it all along that he was not making this story up back in 2009, but I just needed someone’s help to confirm his story.

Karen did, and without knowing it, was a great help.

My dad should be on the lists of men that survived the sinking, but he is not. I have his original records but they are almost unlegible now. Does anyone know if records are still available?


4 thoughts on “Checking the Pipes

  1. You can obtain the full service record of a Vet by contacting the National Archives in Ottawa. It is a comprehensive record. Good Luck! My uncle was on the Athabaskan, but unfortunately he was not picked up by the Haida…and he ended up as a POW.

  2. The steel ball test is similar to one used in the hydraulic hose industry, especially those built on flexible mandrels that can be spliced together. The splices are molded so the mandrel is a continuous length for as many feet as the size allows in the tubs or baskets the mandrel is run prior to extrusion of the tube over it. Anyway, once the hose is cured, the mandrel is blown out with water under pressure. Sometimes the molds break during the manufacturing process. (Wire-braided hoses might have, say, 36 bobbins with eight ends of wire wound so they braid in a band around the tube, Each end is under tension. If the build specification specification calls for 30 pounds of tension on each end, that’s 30 X 8 ends X 36 bobbins, which is a lot of pressure on the molded splice. Sometimes the break, leaving a lip inside the tube that can restrict hydraulic fluid flow. The way these defects are found is to blow the hose interior dry with air under pressure, then blow a steel ball sized to the ID of the hose through the hose. The flap’s located by this means. Soooo…! It makes sense the steel ball works the same way in the pipes.

    1. I know he did not make up such a story to make us believe he had been a sailor on board.
      He was on board.

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