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HMCS Gatineau (H61)


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#1 militarycross

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 12:40 AM

Just had a visit today with the Coder from the Gatineau and he was kind enough to loan this photo of the ship's company to me so that I could share it with the forum folks.

The notation on the the back says: "Fall of 1943, St. John's, Nfld."

The stamp on the back says: "Passed by Naval Censor No. __ (Photographic) Nov 27, 1943" and he has initialled it.

For those who study the navy, Gatineau began life as HMS Express and Canada acquired her in June of 1943. My friend said that it served in the Indian Ocean and thus had no heaters when Canada took command. When the shipwrights installed heaters in the galley area, they were convinced to weld them to the walls so that a tea pot could sit on it, or a fry pan, and thus become auxillary stoves to make a cuppa or cook your eggs which were drawn in the shell.

cheers,
phil

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#2 17thDYRCH

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 12:56 AM

Phil,
Great to see you back on the forum.
Fab photo of the crew. Any details as to the name and background of the captain? When was the ship built. Type of vessel...Corvette>Destroyer?
Can you share anything about the "Coder". Is he a Veteran?

Randy
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#3 Mike L

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 01:27 AM

Phil, that is a great photo. Wish we could see more like that here.
Is it just my eyes or does the ship seem to be heeling (looking at horizon in background) ships company does not seem to be leaning much.
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#4 militarycross

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 01:30 AM

In due course on the ship's details, though it is available in a variety of sources. Here's one.

HMCS Gatineau (H 61) of the Royal Canadian Navy - Destroyer of the E class - Allied Warships of WWII - uboat.net


My chap was part of her company and responsible for encoding and decoding all traffic.

One of the most interesting things that he showed me was a letter dated May 31 and passed by the Censor on June 5, 1944. He writes to his mother that all ranks have been ordered to be clean shaven. The worry was that if they were in the water with oil burning around them, it would have horrible results. So, he followed orders and shaved, then he mailed his red hair beard home to his mother tied in a ribbon. Sweet!

Apparently, the Number 2 who is seated to the left of the Captain in the front row had a beard as you can see. He, however, did not shave. When questioned about that by those who enjoyed being hairsuited, he replied that the thoughts of burning oil on the water did not worry him. He intended to go down with the ship.

So there you have a bit of the story. I have a few great pictures to scan and share along with this story of shipping in St. John's Harbour. They are small, but I will scan them at 1200 dpi and they should be quite adequate.

For anyone wanting this image in higher rez, I will gladly provide it. I have it stored in 55meg format right now. I was a bit over zealous scanning an 8 by 10 at 1200. Nearly locked up my pre-historic computer.

So, I am back to court mounting a vet's medals to go into a shadow box. Nice GV CD in the group.

cheers,
phil
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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#5 militarycross

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 01:37 AM

Phil, that is a great photo. Wish we could see more like that here.
Is it just my eyes or does the ship seem to be heeling (looking at horizon in background) ships company does not seem to be leaning much.


Indeed, that's why I posted it. I've had several contacts for the HMCS Swift Current ship's company photo I posted a couple years ago.

I think that she might have been hit by a wave, you see splashing over the port side [right as you look at it]. The other alternative is my scan is heeling a bit. :) Not sure.

cheers,
phil
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#6 Mike L

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 02:53 AM

Phil, I too noticed the 'splash' on RHS but cannot understand why the company is not leaning to the left, heeling with the ship. Don't think it is you scan. They seem very relaxed, almost posed. Can't understand the heel and splash in the background.
It is a great photo though.
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#7 militarycross

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:27 PM

My chum found another picture of the Gatineau which I thought I would share with the Forum.

And a shot that should be over on the Caption Thread.

cheers,

phil

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#8 Keith Daniel

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:23 PM

My late father was a wireless operator on the Gatineau H61, Huff Duff mast and all.

Still have his training morse key, got my amateur radio, VE2KXD

Ready Aye Ready... Best. kwd...
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#9 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

Phil,

A wonderful photograph and the crew do look too relaxed considering the conditions!

Regards
Tom
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#10 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:57 PM

My late father was a wireless operator on the Gatineau H61, Huff Duff mast and all.

Still have his training morse key, got my amateur radio, VE2KXD

Ready Aye Ready... Best. kwd...

Keith,

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Huff Duff, a great innovation.

Regards
Tom
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Reconnaissance Corps - Only the enemy in front.

#11 Andy H

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

Hi

The 'wave/spray' on the right hand side could just as easily be smoke or steam, or even a photographic discrepancy. I doubt very much that its a wave/spray action were witnessing.

Regards

Andy H
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#12 GPO's Son

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:16 PM

seems to me that Kieth and Phil should have a chat as it is likely the code guy and the operater would have had some kind of relationship on the tiny little Gatineau;).
Matt
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#13 Keith Daniel

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:46 AM

I have some photos of my dads era aboard, will try to have them scanned and hope to post them here. Best.
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#14 Wills

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

Her resting place ? Courtenay BC

49°39′14.26″N 124°56′53.74″W

Attached File  H61.jpg   132.46K   11 downloads

Edited by Wills, 31 January 2013 - 09:05 AM.

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#15 militarycross

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:33 AM

Fascinating that she's still serving, albeit in a different capacity. Shall pass this on to Frank.
cheers,
phil
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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#16 militarycross

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:34 AM

and a conversation would be interesting, I am sure. Look forward to seeing the pictures.

cheers,
phil
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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#17 Patricia O'Hearn

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:57 AM

This site was a most gratifying find online!  My uncle, Joseph Daniel O'Hearn, served on HMCS Gatineau during WWII.  Thank you so very much for sharing that crew photo!

 

Cheers!

 

Patty


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