Chief Petty Officer Douglas T Laurie

Comment just received from his daughter…

My Dad, Chief Petty Officer, Douglas T Laurie, was on his way to deck as he just finished his shift in the Engine Room when the Athabaskan was torpedoed .  He too was taken Prisoner of War.  

sailor from coming home picture

My Dad passed away April 19, 2013.  

These were all brave men.

prisoners coming home

About Chief Petty Officer Douglas T Laurie and many others, click here.

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4Dennis

There is a story behind that picture.

I will tell you after the funeral.

Dennis passed away at Ste. Anne’s (Veterans) Hospital on April 25, three days after his 95th birthday. He is predeceased by his eldest son, Michael.
Memories of Dennis will be cherished by, Lilian, his loving wife of 71 years; his children, David (Christina), Patricia (the late Stephen Shaar), Terry (Lee) and Sharon (Mike Schofield); his grandchildren, Andrea, Brian C. (Crystal), Brian S., Christopher, Jessica (Richard Ferrell), Katie (Derek Lagimodiere), Kevin (Rachel), Lauren (James Bush), Lynn (Mike Taylor), Mark (Leah), Matthew (Renata), Shawn and Will (Julie); his great-grandchildren, Adam, Aeden, Alexandria, Arianna, Cameron, Cassidy, Emilia, Jade, Liam C., Liam T., Lola, Michael and Sofia, and his dear friend, Dennis Copley. He was our hero.
Dennis was born in England but raised and educated in New Brunswick. From the time he was a young lad, his sole ambition was to be a pilot. He trained with flying clubs until WWII broke out and then joined the Air Force. With the rank of Sergeant Pilot, he was shipped overseas in 1941 where he fought with RAF 91 Squadron, 222 Squadron, RCAF Squadron 411 (Spitfires) and met his bride-to-be. Following 178 operational trips, including six sorties on the Dieppe Raid, he was posted back to Bagotville, Quebec to instruct on Hurricanes, to Vancouver to a Kitty Hawk squadron and then to Patricia Bay where he was Flight Commander and then Acting O.C. of 163 Squadron.
In 1944, he joined Trans Canada Airlines and, after thirty- one plus years, left Air Canada to pursue a retirement that lasted thirty-seven years.
“Con” had a genuine lust for life and greeted every day with a smile. He was a true patriot, a dedicated family man, a sportsman, a musician, a confidant and a mentor. He has “slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings”.
Dear Dad, until we meet again. The family extends its deepest and sincere thanks to the amazing staff of the Ste. Anne’s Hospital, particularly the 4th Floor Staff. You weren’t just his caregivers, you were his friends. A funeral mass in celebration of “Con’s” life will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Hudson, Quebec, on Tuesday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception at the Royal Canadian Legion, Hudson Branch. Some family members will be available to greet friends at the Church at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Ste. Anne’s Hospital Foundation (www.fondationhsa.ca) or to NOVA Hudson (www.novahudson.com).

HMCS Athabaskan, April 29, 2013

This is a modified reprint of one of my first posts on this blog.

I wanted to start a blog about the First and the Second World Wars in 2014…

I was always appalled by the lost of lives in those wars. Something happened that changed my mind in the summer of 2009.

My wife’s uncle said in a family reunion we  had that he was aboard HMCS Athabaskan and that he was working in the engine room.

2009-08-19G07

HMCS Athabaskan G07

What changed also my mind about starting this blog was when I asked my 28-year old son (he was 24 at that time) if he knew the story of the sinking of the Athabaskan…

He said: “My toasts are ready…” (He had just got up and did not have breakfast yet)

It is at that moment I told him that his great uncle was a sailor aboard the Athabaskan… He started to ask me questions… and this is why I got this idea of writing a blog on the story of the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan…

My blog Souvenirs de guerre was in French and I wrote several articles before I decided to use the e-mail addresses on Stuart A. Kettles’ nephew Website from people who had sign his guest books…

Stuart Kettles was a sailor aboard the Athabaskan and he was taken prisoner by the Germans. As a tribute to his uncle, his nephew created a Website in his honour.

A dozen people wrote back the same day !

Among them the daughter of Herm Sulkers and the son of Jim Lesperance, both sailors on the Athabaskan  whom I knew little about except that they were taken prisoners just like Stuart A. Kettles.

The story on the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan is well documented in English and this is why I chose to put links to other Websites like Jerry Proc’s Website.

What I want to do in Lest We Forget is to find as much as possible about the sailors that were on board on April 29, 1944.

To those who can read French, this link will direct you to the story written by Yves Dufeil. Yves has a Website dedicated to naval history. It is simply amazing. He conducted research on a 1914-1918 German Vice-admiral known for his chivalry. This story you have to read.

This is a list of the sailors who died on April 29, 1944.

I found it on this site.

Adams, John C. – AB

Agnew, John – AB

Allison, Albert E. – AB

Amiro, Irvin V. – Tel

Annett, Robert I.L. – SLt (E)

Armstrong, George A. – AB

Ashton, Percy G. – AB

Barrett, Arthur E. – AB

Bell, Donald A.  – Sto

Berkeley, Alfred G. – OS

Bertrand, Laurent J.L. – CPO

Bianco, Anthony D. – AB

Bieber, Edgar E. – Sto. PO

Blinch, Harry C. – AB

Brandson, Thomas L. – Lt(S)

Brighten, Victor H. – Chief ERA*

* information from a reader

Pierre

 In speaking to my dad this morning, two things emerged. The website shows Vic Brighten’s rank as ERA. He was in fact Chief ERA. He had just replaced Ernie Mills, and was therefore no supposed to be aboard, but the changeover took longer than expected so he stayed aboard for the extra 2 days.

Doug

Burrow, William O. – LS

Chamberland, Paul H.A. – AB

Cookman, Edgar A. – LS

Cooney, Stewart R. – Stwd

Corbiere, Vincent G. – AB

Corkum, Gordon F. – AB

Cottrell, Sydney A. – AB

Croft, Mayle H. – AB

Cross, Alfred T. – O.Tel

DeArmond, Gordon, L. – LS

Dillen, Stewart C. – Stwd

Dion, A. Jean G. – L.Sto

Edhouse, Donald W. – Sto

Fleming, Harold L. – AB

Forron, Jack E.A. – Sto

Fralick, Earl I. – AB

Frith, William A. – AB

Fuller, Eugene M. – AB

Gaetano, Valentino J. – AB

Gibbons, Marshall L. – AB

Goldsmith, T.H. – C. Yeo. Sig

Gordon, Lloyd M. – AB

Goulet, Robert J. – Sto

Grainger, Roy J. – LSA

Guest, Carlton G. – AB

Hayes, Christopher – OS

Heatherington, John T. – Sto

Henry, Robert J. – AB

Houison, George D. – L.Wrtr

Hurley, Micheal P. – Sto

Irvine, Leonard C. – AB

Izard, Theodore D. – Lt (E)

Jarvis, Edmund A. – LS

Johnson, Elswood S. – AB

Johnson, Richard R. – L.Sto

Johnston, Lawrence R. – AB

Kelly, Lionel D. – Stwd

Kobes, John R. – LS

Lamoureux, André – LS

Lawrence, Ralph M. – Lt

Lea, Eric E. – Sto

Ledoux, Louis – AB

Lewandowski, Stan S. – Sto

Lind, Mekkel G. – Sto PO

Love, Walter M. – ERA

Lucas, Donald O. – Sto

MacAvoy, Gerald W. – PO. Cook

MacDonald, Ashley K. – AB

MacKenzie, Alexander – AB

Maguire, John W. – L. Sto

Mahoney, John D. – Lt (SB)

Manson, John L. – Cook

Matthews, George H. – AB

McBride, John L. – AB

McCarroll, Thomas G. – Sto

McCrindle, William D. – AB

McGregor, William – L. Sto

McLean, Daniel H. – AB

McNeill, John J. – Sto

Meadwell, Richard G. – AB

Mengoni, Eric J. – AB

Metcalfe, Donald I. – Elec.Art

Millar, Victor – AB

Mills, Ernest G. – C.ERA

Mumford, Leonard K. – ERA

Nash, Robert A. – SLt

Nicholas, Joseph R. – L.Sto

Ouellette, Joseph E.V. – AB

Peart, Hubert J. – AB

Phillips, John D. – AB

Pike, Brenton J. – AB

Pothier, Charles L. – AB

Rennie, John E. – PO

Riendeau, Joseph A.L. – AB

Roberts, John C. – ERA

Roberts, Raymond L. – AB

Robertshaw, Eric – AB

Robertson, Ian A. – AB

Robertson, William – Sto

Roger, Leo A. – Sto

Rolls, Raymond B. – AB

Ryan, Norman V. – AB

St. Laurent, Joseph L.M. – AB

Sampson, Francis L. – AB

Sanderson, Earl H. – AB

Sénécal, Jean G.L. – AB

Sherlock, Albert V. – Stwd

Sigston, George D. – Gnr

Singleton, John C. – AB

Skyvington, Francis G. – SBA

Sommerfeld, Samuel W. – AB

Soucisse, Paul E. – Coder

Stevenson, Elmer H. – Sto

Stewart, John L. – AB

Stewart, William G. – Sig

Stockman, Ernest O. – Lt (E)

Stubbs, John H. – LCdr

Sutherland, John W. – AB

Sweet, Charles C. – CPO

Thompson, Harry – Sto

Tupper, Allister R. – Ord.Art

Vair, James A. – L.Stwd

Veinotte, Joseph V.W. – Sy.PO

Waitson, Maurice – AB

Wallace, Peter W. – AB

Ward, Leslie – Lt (SB)

Watson, Reginald J. – Tel

Williams, Kenneth W. – ERA

Wood, John A. – AB

Yeadon, Robert L. – AB

See you tomorrow.

I will have photos I have found on the Internet.

You can write to me by clicking here.

Deskaide The Silent Secretary 1942

Jacques Gagnon and I were hoping this would be Eugene Gagnon’s personal diary. 

journal13

It was not.

Our hopes were shattered, but we had decided to share it.

I have second thoughts since yesterday when I finally saw it.

It is very personal and does not seem to contain historical facts that merit being shared on a blog about paying homage to those who gave so much for their countries in a war.

Lawrence Walton Montague was someone who had met Eugene Gagnon only once in his life.

It was on April 24th, 1942.

April 24 1942

Pretty good little French Gangon (sic)

He met Eugene only once.

This is one entry in Lawrence Montague’s personal diary. I thought it was the first entry before I took a look at the original.

January 13 1942

Lawrence was a cadet in Course 44. He enlisted in the RCAF and got his first training at No. 6 EFTS Dunnville, Ontario.

There are 363 entries. One is missing because he got drunk. He never drank after. He had never drank before and he wanted to try it. Most of the entries have no historical values per se.

13th January is an example.

I don’t think he liked the weather that much in Canada. 

Quite different from where he came from, Coral Gables, Florida.

source

source

So how was the weather at No. 6 STFS Dunnville, Ontario on January 13th, 1942? 

Lawrence writes about it.

Did an hour night flying tonight – terrible cross wind

Flew all morning and just after dinner a typical Dunnville Snowstorm roared in & flight was washed out.

It seems that I will be in Canada & get the full benefit of its nastiest weather – Jan. Feb. & March.

What happened elsewhere in the war while Lawrence was in the midst of a typical Dunnville snowstorm…?

January 13, 1942 (source here)

Operation Drumbeat. Off Nova Scotia, U-130 sinks Norwegian steamer Frisco at 1.16 AM and Panamanian SS Friar Rock at 9.48 AM. 

Malaya.

Having withdrawn 100 miles Southwest from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Allied troops establish new defensive positions from Muar River on the West coast 40 miles inland to the town of Gemas, where B company 2/30th Australian Battalion (Australian 8th Division under Australian General Gordon Bennett) prepares an ambush at Gemencheh Bridge over the Kelamah River.

Convoy DM1 arrives at Singapore from Durban, South Africa, with 9100 troops (including British 53rd Brigade), 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns and 52 RAF Hurricane fighters. There are only 24 pilots for the Hurricanes which are quickly demolished by Japanese Zero fighters within 2 weeks.

Eastern Front.

Red Army meets stubborn German resistance in towns Northwest and West of Moscow. Both sides are immobilised by lack of equipment and supplies and by the extreme cold, leading to fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Soviet 11th Army and German 18th Motorised Division contest possession of Staraya Russa. Soviet 29th and 39th Army fail to penetrate German 9th Army defenses around Rhzev, leading to the creating of a German salient. Soviet 11th Cavalry Corps charge is held up Southwest of Rzhev, allowing Germans to maintain a corridor West from Rzhev along the main highway to Vyazma and Smolensk. The railway goods yard at Sychevka is contested in frenzied close quarter combat.

What about Eugene Gagnon’s personal diary if he had one and if we could get our hands on it… (based on his service record and taking into account Larry’s diary). Remember that Eugene was French-Canadian.

13 janvier 1942

Une grosse tempête de neige s’est abattue sur Dunnville juste après le souper. Quelques cadets ont effectué des vols de nuit, mais le tout a été annulé. Je suis ici depuis le 4 janvier. Je suis dans le Course 46. Hier j’étais à Mount Hope. Je suis heureux d’avoir finalement réussi la première phase de mon entraînement après avoir échoué celle au No. 9 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) St. Catherines. Je suis fier d’avoir persévéré. Je rêve d’aller me battre en Europe.

Voici une photo du groupe. Elle appartient à Buggs, un autre cadet. Je suis en avant dans le rectangle rouge.

Bugg's picture with Eugene Gagnon

Eugene Gagnon went on to became a staff pilot at No. 7 B&G School Paulson, Manitoba. He then went overseas and joined 23 Squadron and flew 33 missions on a Mosquito mostly over Germany.

Eugene Gagnon 1945

Everything is on this other blog.

What more do we have to say to pay homage to Eugene Gagnon who met only once in his life Lawrence Walton Montague?

Application 13 novembre 1945

History Detectives

Everyone can become one. You just have to be persistent with your search.

I am a very persistent person. I am also very respectful of others.

Lawrence was not. I found that out reading his diary.

So what about this Find A Grave Website where I showed you a picture last time?

lawrence.JPG1I found this memorial there and I wrote the person who put the information on that site hoping he or she was related to Lawrence.

This is the reply…

No, I am not related. 

I took photos of all 22,000 Veterans buried there and posted them to findagrave,

Lonnie

Next time the first entry in the journal.

Before I leave you, this is another picture of people related to Lawrence.

family picture 2

Father, Mother, and Larry or a brother?

So many question marks?

How’s this?

manIt was glued on this page.

journal page 3