Known Unto God

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This photo was taken at Plouescat, France. I did not take it, but I wish I had. I wish I could visit that French little town which pays homage to so many sailors who gave their lives on April 29, 1944.

People in Plouescat still remember the Fallen on Remembrance Day.

I started my Remembrance Day in the summer of 2009. I had never thought of Remembrance Day that much until a family reunion in 2009. It was about a 81 year-old man who told his nieces he was a stoker aboard HMCS Athabaskan. His nieces were just talking about Pierre’s brother’s. Their uncle Jean who had been injured on D-Day died of complication of his wounds in 1964.

I was just listening quietly to their conversation…

I guess his nieces talking about D-Day led Pierre to open up about his ordeal. He did not open up that much since the pain was too great I guess. I could never ascertain if he was really aboard HMCS Athabaskan since his name is not listed in the book Unlucky Lady.

Later, some readers of my blog would tell me the book was not 100% accurate on who were on the Tribal destroyer on that fateful night.

I believe I see my wife’s uncle on this group picture shared by Paul Sulkers whose father was Herman Sulkers.

My wife doesn’t agree with me that her uncle is on that picture. This is another group picture of the rest of the crew.

This time I am sure about one sailor.

His granddaughter found him for us last week when she wrote a comment. Leading stoker Ralph Cummins was in the engine room with my wife’s uncle if he was really aboard that is. Both survived. Ralph Cummins was taken prisoner by the Germans, and Pierre Bachant was rescued by HMCS Haida.

Being rescued by another ship, that’s what he told his nieces in 2009. I figured it was the Haida, but I did not know anything about the Athabaskan in 2009 so I could not ask the name of the ship. Some veterans might make up stories about what they did in the war. They are easy to spot when you start asking questions. Pierre Bachant never wanted to talk that much about his service in the Royal Canadian Navy. That should tell a lot about what he went through on April 29,1944.

Today is Remembrance Day, and I want to pay homage to the Fallen and to those who survived. People still remember like David and his wife Lorraine who visited Plouescat Cemetery and shared these photos. David is not looking for his uncle’s headstone.

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William Donald McCrindle, David’s uncle, is still MPK…

Missing presumed killed.

Remembrance Day will continue for a few more days because David has more to share with us.

For more information about the Royal Canadian Navy please visit this Website:

http://www.forposterityssake.ca/Navy/HMCS_ATHABASKAN_G07.htm

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