Veteran Stories:
Walter Jacuk

Navy

  • Depth charges dropped from HMCS Lasalle exploding during a U-boat hunt in the North Atlantic, 1944.

    Walter Jacuk
  • Steward Walter Jacuk, Royal Canadian Navy, 1943.

    Walter Jacuk
  • Inspection prior to shore leave in a South American port, HMCS Uganda, circa 1945-46.

    Walter Jacuk
  • Burial at sea, HMCS Lasalle, 1944.

    Walter Jacuk
  • The officers and the mess branch of HMCS Uganda, 1945. Steward Walter Jacuk is seventh from the left in the second row from the top.

    Walter Jacuk
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"The food was all right. We had a cook that wasn’t too bad, but there was times we stayed out for quite a while. I think one time we were out 28 days and we were down to hardtack."

Transcript

I joined up in [HMCS] Chippawa, in Winnipeg and then they shipped us to Saskatoon to, I’m trying to think of the name of it again in Saskatoon [HMCS Unicorn], but we took our training there. And then after we took our basic, we went to [HMCS] Cornwallis for some more and after we left Cornwallis, they shipped us to Halifax and from there onboard ship to HMCS Lasalle. And we started our ocean tour there. Well, my duties as a steward and I looked after the food and the liquor onboard ship for the officers; and we all had our stations there when there was any action going on. So our action was bringing up shells onboard ship to the crew. And outside of that, between dropping depth charges [anti-submarine weapons] there when we figured that there was something picked up on the ASDIC [underwater sound propagation], and the rest of the time, we would just cover the convoys that were coming into Halifax or Boston and helping them get safely out of the portion of the way before they hit that centre portion and then they picked up another escort, going in towards England. Lasalle was a frigate [anti-submarine escort vessel] and it was one of the newer ones and conditions on there weren’t that bad. We all slept in hammocks and we sort of ate in the same place there, where the hammocks were slung. No, the conditions could have been worse. I know that, there was a little bit of time I spent on a corvette [lightly armoured escort vessel]; the frigate is 100 percent better than the conditions on a corvette. The food was all right. We had a cook that wasn’t too bad, but there was times we stayed out for quite a while. I think one time we were out 28 days and we were down to hardtack [dry crackers or biscuits] because we were starting to run short of food. When the war ended [on May 8, 1945], we were out at sea and we had to stay out in case some of those German submarines didn’t get notified that the war had ended with Germany; and then the big riots started in Halifax when we were supposed to be going back in. Then they sent us to Shelburne and we stayed there a few days so things quieten down in Halifax. When we came into Halifax there one time, to get de-iced, and I think that [HMCS] Esquimalt got torpedoed just outside of Halifax; and I was helping take some of the survivors that some other ship had brought in and they were all saturated with oil. I guess they had it pretty rough there, but they were fairly close to shore. I guess they got into some boats, the majority of them, and they were picked up and brought into Halifax. The time that we stayed out for quite a while was when one of the ships was torpedoed there in [the] St. Lawrence. I think it was the [HMCS] Clayoquot and we had to hang around and try and see if we could catch up to that sub that was doing the damage. But no such luck. After that, I got onto the [HMCS] Uganda, which was a light cruiser [lightly armoured escort vessel], and it was pretty nice sailing on that thing when we went to South America.
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