Martin had adopted Grant Aitchison’s grave. He sent me this. Good evening Pierre, Some time ago we were in touch when I adopted the grave of Canadian pilot E.G. Aitchison and today was the candles on war graves evening again. First covid free event after 2 years. I attached a picture of the grave I […]Greetings from the Netherlands – Flight Lieutenant Edward Grant Aitchison
The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism By John U. Bacon, Narrated by Johnny Heller Audiobook, 10 hours and 38 minutes Published by Harper Audio, November 2017 Language: English ASIN: B0742MBJ82 Prior to the detonation of the first atomic bomb, the largest man-made explosion ever recorded happened […]The Great Halifax Explosion Audio Book Review — Inch High Guy
Written 11 years ago and updated with this comment I have just received… Ken was my mentor and close friend. I wrote a profile on him when I was in journalism school at Carleton U. in the mid to late 90s. I attended his funeral in Ottawa in ’97 and the profile was shared among […]Kenneth G. Roberts DFC, CD
Many of the soldiers who went off to war in those days, viewed the conflict as some kind of grand adventure. Many of them singing patriotic songs, the young men and boys of Russia, Germany, Austria and France stole last kisses from wives and sweethearts, and boarded their ships and trains.November 11, 1918 The 11th Hour
A footnote to the Saviour of Ceylon.
Most interesting to learn about the battle.
Wing Commander Birchall was called the Saviour of Ceylon by Canadian newspapers when the story was told. This is rightfully so. However it was his navigator Warrant Officer Granville Charles Onyette who had asked him to continue on with the search to give him time to find the plane’s exact position.
Excerpt from Chapter 2
The last chapter of the “Saviour of Ceylon” saga didn’t occur until Canada’s centennial celebrations in 1967. Prime Minister Lester Pearson gave a formal dinner and reception for each head of state that came to Canada, and Birchall was invited to attend the dinner for the Ceylonese. At this dinner, Prime Minister Lester Pearson related one of his personal experiences with respect to the Ceylon battle. Pearson spoke of an event that occurred at a dinner at the British Embassy in Washington, either just before or after the end of the war. Someone asked Sir Winston Churchill what he felt to be the most dangerous and most distressing moment in the war. Pearson thought he would refer to the events of June and July 1940 and the imminence of invasion, or to the time when Rommel was heading toward Alexandria and Cairo at full speed or when Singapore fell. However, Churchill thought the most dangerous moment of the war was when he got the news that the Japanese fleet was heading for Ceylon and the naval base there. The capture of Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean and the possibility of a German conquest of Egypt would have “closed the ring” and the future would have been black.
Churchill went on to say that disaster was averted by an airman, on reconnaissance, who spotted the Japanese fleet and, though shot down, was able to get a message through to Ceylon. The message allowed the defence forces there to get ready for the approaching assault; otherwise they would have been taken completely by surprise. Churchill believed that the unknown airman, who lay deep in the waters of the Indian Ocean, made one of the most important single contributions to victory. He got quite emotional about it.
Pearson was pleased to tell Churchill that the “unknown airman” was not lying deep in the Indian Ocean but was still an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force stationed down the street from the British Embassy where he was active in the Canadian military mission. Churchill was surprised and delighted to know that the end of the story was a happier one than envisioned.
Click on the link below.
This is such a long story…
Updated 12 September 2022
HMCS St. Laurent (H83)
HMCS St. Laurent (1st of name) (H83)
A ship travelling on the water
HMCS St. Laurent H83.
The “C” Class destroyer HMS Cygnet was purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy and commissioned at Chatham, England on 17 February 1937 as HMCS St. Laurent. She arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 April, and later sailed for Esquimalt, British Columbia. Shortly after war was declared, she returned to the east coast and, for several months, escorted convoys on the first leg of their transatlantic journey. On 24 May 1940, she was assigned to Western Approaches at Plymouth, United Kingdom, playing a brief role in the evacuation of France. On 2 July 1940, she rescued 860 survivors from the torpedoed liner Arandora Star.
In 1941, HMCS St. Laurent joined Newfoundland Command as a mid-ocean escort. During this period, “Sally”, as she was nicknamed, assisted in the destruction of two U-boats: U-356 and U-845. In May 1944, she was transferred to Escort Group 11 for invasion duties. She then returned home for major repairs, and remained in Canadian waters as a member of Halifax Force. Following Victory in Europe-Day, she was employed in transporting troops from Newfoundland to Canada. HMCS St. Laurent was paid off on 10 October 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia and broken up in 1947.
20 August 1941
To be continued…
More information about the ship…
https://ottawacitizen.remembering.ca/obituary/john-jack-mclean-1086016720 I remember meeting him in Gatineau. Jack McLeanJohn (Jack) McLean | Obituary | Ottawa Citizen
John Knifton’s first post about the the Sandiacre Screw Company.
This is the first of twelve posts which will tell the story of Keith Doncaster. They will appear over the course of, probably, a year, and I would encourage you to read them all. Keith was just one of the 119 young men from Nottingham High School who perished in the fight to save England and freedom during World War 2. I have found out more about Keith than any other casualty. What I did find is a wonderful advertisement for the evils of war, as what may well have been just one cannon shell from a night fighter, ultimately, deprived thousands of people of their livelihoods, in one of the very few large factories in a small town in Derbyshire called Sandiacre.
Ivan Keith Doncaster was born on October 17th 1923. His father was Raymond Doncaster who was an engineer. Ray’s father was Sir Robert Doncaster, the founder of…
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