Hommage : À la pointe Saint-Mathieu, on se souvient de l’Athabaskan

News from France

Souvenirs de guerre

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À l’occasion de l’anniversaire du naufrage de l’Athabaskan, l’association bretonne de recherches archéologiques et historiques en activités maritimes (Abraham) et l’association “Aux marins” ont organisé ce mardi une cérémonie à la pointe Saint-Mathieu, en présence de familles et de l’attaché Défense de l’ambassade du Canada. Une plaque comportant les noms des 128 victimes a été dévoilée.

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April 29, 1944 – April 29, 2014

This was a draft post I had written on March 14, 2011.

It was about a deadline I have never met.

Original post

That’s the deadline I am fixing to pay homage to the sailors who served on HMCS Athabaskan on April 29, 1944. You can be part of this homage by contacting me like Paul Sulkers did.

Just write a comment and I will get in touch via e-mail.

Not only did Paul contacted me, but he sent me a picture I had never seen before and this one that Jim L’Esperance’s had but was all torn up.

I will be posting one article a week.

I have collected a lot of information since August 2009 when I began searching if my wife’s uncle was really aboard that fateful night.

One day the truth will surfaced even though I know he told the truth.

I have posted many articles on this blog just on the Athabaskan.

So please comeback every Monday.

Together we might pay homage to all the sailors of the Athabaskan.

Sailors who lost their lives (in bold a link to articles I wrote about them)

Adams, John C. – AB

John Cameron Adams was the husband of Ida Eileen Adams. He was the first to join the ‘RCNVR London Division” which was formed in August of 1938. He enlisted at HMCS Prevost in London and served aboard the destroyer HMCS Skeena. He was lost at sea, age 31, when the destroyer HMCS Athabaskan was sunk in the English Channel on April 29, 1944.

Source: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=collections/virtualmem/Detail&casualty=2557305

Agnew, John – AB  No pictures

Allison, Albert E. – AB No pictures

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*

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


* information from a reader


 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.


End of original post

After almost 600 articles on this blog, I think the time is right to turn the page on the story of HMCS Athabaskan…

Lest We Forget

Disaster as US ‘D-Day rehearsal’ is ambushed

Click here.


As Operation Overlord approached the Allies were embarking on the final exercises for troops involved in the invasion. The aim was to rehearse the movement of troops by sea in as realistic manner as possible, with the men making an equivalent length of journey to familiarise them with sea going conditions. It was not always a comfortable experience.

The last of the rehearsal exercises now began on the south coast of England, beginning with Exercise Tiger for the men destined for Utah beach. On the 28th April the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower was amongst the senior officers watching the manoeuvres at Slapton Sands. His aide Captain H. C. Butcher was accompanying him and recorded the day in his diary:

What Did FDR Know? – Part 4

What Did FDR Know? – Part 4

Masako and Spam Musubi

honolulu headline

As we saw in Part 3, Japan and America are now at war.

While not directly related to the question of “What did FDR know?”, it is deemed critical for readers to understand the damages suffered by the US military – and specifically its naval and air assets – on December 7, 1941.  It is also important to realize the huge advantage the Japanese Imperial Navy had over the U.S. Navy.  Lastly, it is important for readers to note the unbridled successes of the Japanese military at that time… and what unbelievably followed.

For the vast majority, Americans are under the belief that the US was caught flat-footed with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.  Indeed, 21 ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged.

Of those ships damaged, all but three of the ships at Pearl Harbor were refloated and repaired (Note: Pearl Harbor at its…

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Elinor Florence’s blog Wartime Wednesdays – The German Jew Who Bombed Berlin


When I read a book recently called Escape, Evasion and Revenge, written by Marc H. Stevens of Toronto about his father, I was fascinated by this unique story, and I asked Marc if he would write a guest column for me. I’m sure you will be as mesmerized as I was by his father’s courage and daring. For the whole story, however, you should really read the book! Following is a very condensed version of events.

Click here.



Jim L'Esperance 008 (2)

This picture was also pasted in Jim L’Esperance’s Wartime Log.

I am sure it was pasted when Jim came back from Marlag und Milag Nord.

Jim is here with all the POWs.

He’s the third sailor on the right top row.

athab 2

Jim is also on this picture taken in 1971.

Athabaskan crew 1971

This is the original sent by Yves Dufeil back in 2009 when I started this blog. I just added a few information since then so we may never forget these men and the sailors who never came back.

Athabaskan 1971 with numbers

Lest We Forget those who never came back…

John Colton

John rejoigned his fellow pilots last year.

I wrote him a message once, but he never replied. I would have like to meet him and talk about No. 4 E.F.T.S. Windsor Mills. I had written an article on him on this blog.

In fact make that two.

This is an article on Vintage Wings of Canada that pays homage to Johnny Typhoon. Much better than I could have.

John Colton

Veterans Transition Network

How to remember to never forget about all wars…


When we least expect it clarity, compassion and understanding sneak up and slap us in the head. Moments like this are hard to define, lacking framework of anticipation or reference they vanish in the blink of an eye. We recognize it changed us but need to digest it for a day of two.

Yesterday was one of those days. I ran an event at the Foster Eastman Gallery in Vancouver, a fundraiser for Veterans Transition Network (VTN).  Having many military events under my belt, I arrived void of the slightest inkling this cocktail party would enrich my core. Expecting to see some familiar faces, looking forward to a new venue, interested in the art – I walked inside and was greeted by Foster.

I’ve never given much credence to auras but if Foster Eastman has one it radiates pure joy. Instantly at ease – dare I say under a spell…

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The Incredibly Stupid One at the Hanoi Hilton

The Incredibly Stupid One at the Hanoi Hilton

A reader sent me this…
Hi Pierre thought you might enjoy this. I realize it’s not in the WWII realm but is a story about common man doing extraordinary things.

CherriesWriter - Vietnam War website


 By Dick “Beak” Stratton, Captain, USN (Ret.)

It was a warmer than usual summer day in Clark, South Dakota when a rather large and ungainly young man, a recent high school graduate, set about finding his way in the world. The salivating Navy recruiter asked the youngster what it would take to have him sign up: “why, I’d like to go to Australia .” It was as good as done. After all, in 1966, if you were lucky enough to ship out on the USS Canberra, more likely than not, during the course of your hitch, there will be a port call to the ship’s namesake— Canberra , Australia .

DouglasHegdahlThis young man came from a solid, patriotic Norwegian Lutheran stock that believed when your country called, you answered. You did not go to the bus station but to the recruiting…

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It has to be him!

Jim L'Esperance 019It has to be him.

Same given name Robert.

Same name Wainwright.

Yeoman Petty Officer Bob Wainwright, from Newcastle, was a very lucky sailor!

The story he was telling deserves to be retold in bold characters.

Yeoman Petty Officer Bob Wainwright, from Newcastle, had already seen plenty of action whilst serving on Gloucester’s sister ship, Liverpool where he had narrowly escaped death when she was hit by two bombs which failed to explode. Later he was drafted to HMS Kent and was on board when she was torpedoed in September 1940. Three days later he joined Gloucester.

Bob was stationed on the bridge of Gloucester and had a grandstand view of the attacks that took place prior to the sinking;

‘When we ran out of ammunition we finished up firing the 6-inch guns and starshells, it was a waste of time really. Wave after wave of Stukas were concentrating on us. By the time the order came to abandon ship we had gone another half mile from where we were first hit. I saw men in the carley floats, and men who were swimming, being machine gunned by the enemy planes. I decided it might be safer to remain on the ship for as long as possible. A bomb hit the ship aft and the aft Director Control Tower went up in the air, then toppled over the side, it also took half of the main mast away. The aerials came crashing down and I took cover. One of the aerial insulators hit the captain’s steward and it took the top of his head clean off. I went back to the bridge and assisted a Sub Lieutenant to throw the Cypher books over the side. All the time pompom shells were exploding. Fiji was off the starboard side and Captain Rowley told me to make a signal to Fiji and ask her to come alongside but before I could do so, the captain took the flags from me and sent the signal himself. The reply came back, “Sorry but I will drop carley floats”. I made my way to the forecastle, where I saw a Royal Naval Reserve Lieutenant bravely directing men into the water, between air raids. The ship was listing so much that I just walked into the sea where I joined up with signalman Len ‘Al’ Bowley. We both knew that we could suffer severe internal injuries if the boilers exploded so we decided to swim as far from the ship as possible. The ship was wallowing in the water and I couldn’t believe she was about to sink. After Gloucester went down we were swimming from one piece of flotsam to another. Bowley kept asking me if we were going to make it. I told him, “of course we are” but in truth I didn’t think that we had a hope in hell’.

Here is a collection of pictures I found on the Internet of HMS Gloucester.

A Website about the ship.


In May 1941 the Royal Navy prevented any German sea-borne landing in force on the island of Crete. Immense losses were imposed upon the German transports which sailed from the overrun mainland of Greece itself, but the modern menace of the dive-bomber exacted a heavy toll from our ships, which in those days had little of the all-important air support. Dive-bombers destroyed both the Gloucester and the new cruiser Fiji on the same day – 22 May 1941. The RAF having been withdrawn, doubtless for good reasons, leaving our ships with only their own guns to defend themselves. Both fought fiercely until the end.