Veteran Stories:
Kenneth Eric Hugh “Hooky” Walker

Navy

  • Ordinary Seaman Ken Walker, shortly after his enlistment in the Royal Canadian Navy, 1942.

    Ken Walker
  • Ordinary Seaman Ken Walker poses with his mother on Acadia Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, shortly after his enlistment in the Royal Canadian Navy, 1942.

    Ken Walker
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"I was on the bridge at the time and I was fortunate to get blown off the bridge into the Atlantic and picked up by some of the crew members that were on Carley floats and lifeboats."

Transcript

My father was in the army in the First World War and he was attached to the Army Service Corps and Water Transport. Well, the Water Transport was the naval part of the Army Service Corps. And it was through my father that I guess I joined the [Royal Canadian] Navy. I joined the ship in June of 1942, that was the [HMCS] Ottawa. It was torpedoed in September 1942. We were torpedoed in the bow of the ship and the other one was aft of the bridge. I was on the bridge at the time and I was fortunate to get blown off the bridge into the Atlantic and picked up by some of the crew members that were on Carley floats and lifeboats. We were picked up by a British [corvette], I don’t remember the name of it [HMS Celandine], and we were taken to Portsmouth, England. Drafted from there to a Canadian ship, the [HMCS New] Westminster. I was wondering, like everybody else there, how long it was going to be before we were going to be torpedoed again. Fortunately, it didn’t happen. We were called a junior ship on a convoy, which meant if you were notified of survivors, you had to go pick them up. So there was American ship, 49 survivors, we would pick them up and we brought them to Halifax. And then before we picked them up, we hit an immense storm where we lost a lifeboat and we had lost all communications. We sailed in the Atlantic for five days in fog, which we just kept circling for five days. After that, the fog lifted and the captain of the ship got his sextant out and we got a bearing and we were not too far from Halifax and we come into Halifax. After I got off the New Westminster, I went to the Naval Boarding Service. And the Naval Boarding Service is a service where you go aboard merchant ships and inspect them for, if they’re fit for convoy, crew trouble; and I finished the rest of years with the Boarding Service until I was discharged.
Follow us