Small world that John Fairchild and Louis Ledoux are on the same picture.
I never got around to translate in English the last post on my blog Souvenirs de guerre.
It was about Louis Ledoux.
Louis is seen here with his crewmates. I believe this is the X gun emplacement.
Louis was killed in the attack.
John was taken prisoner.
His son Peter related to me in an e-mail this story about his father.
When the Athabaskan was sunk, John went overboard on the opposite side of the ship from the Haida which was under orders NOT to stop and pick up survivors; the captain did anyway but only picked up men they could see…and then went to high revolutions to get away from the patrolling German P-T boats. The RCN had just introduced a new flotation device which had a lamp attached that was activated when in contact with water; my dad was wearing one of these. At around the time of the sinking, John’s sister in Quebec City woke with a start seeing my father floating in the water with a big light over his head. She was the only one in the entire family that was convinced he was alive as his paperwork was lost for some time and the family had received a telegram indicating “missing and presumed drowned at sea”.
John was sent to prison camp with the other survivors; he and one of his mates escaped by hiding for three days in an asbestos filled attic when the Germans evacuated the prison (the Russians were approaching). They wandered west for a few days before being picked up by American troops who promptly arrested my Dad as they were convinced that he was a German posing as an escapee (blonde hair and blue eyes and all)! That took some time to sort out but, eventually, all the paperwork caught up to him and he came back to Canada.