‘In 1944 Royal Canadian Navy sister ships, Haida and Athabaskan were patrolling the waters between England and France in preparation for the D-Day landings. Conditions on board the Canadian destroyers were a far cry from comfortable. The cold crept into the very bones of the crew. Gale force winds were a common occurrence in the North Sea with waves reaching the staggering height of forty feet, crashing over the decks and making it difficult to maintain one’s foothold on the steel surface.’
My friend, artist and author, Sherry Pringle, had begun a curious search into why a branch of her family tree was missing. Her research took her back in time and onboard the Athabaskan with her uncle Moe, (Maurice Watson). On April 29, 1944 the weather was markedly different in the Channel with a bright moon and glassy seas. The sailors wouldn’t have liked that as their ship presented a perfect target for an enemy submarine.
At 4:20 am the torpedo hit and within hours the Athabaskan has become Canada’s worst naval disaster with 128 men lost including Uncle Moe. Sherry tells the personal stories of these men so we don’t forget the sacrifices they made.
This Remembrance Day, take a few moments to think of those men and all the others who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Go to your local Remembrance Day parade and wreath laying. Tell your children what it’s about.