Veteran Stories:
Jack Foote

Navy

  • Motor Torpedo Boat 459 of the 29th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla, on which Lt. Jack Foote served. Copyright NAC-DND, GM1910.

  • The crew of Motor Torpedo Boat 459 on which Lt. Jack Foote served. Copyright NAC-DND, GM 1893.

  • Lt. Barney Marshall, a friend and comrade of Lt. Jack Foote, holding a commemorative wreath in Ostend, Belgium moments before the wreath was thrown into the water.

  • Lt. Jack Foote with his paternal grandparents circa 1943.

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"Another incident that I remember very vividly was the time that we had our engines stopped and were on patrol off the coast of France and drifting mines came toward our boat…"

Transcript

My name is Jack Foote and I was with the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II and was in the English Channel during the invasion in 1944. One unfortunate incident that occurred to me was when our motor torpedo boat was struck by gun shell from the coast of France near the city of Le Havre. And our boat was very nearly sunk. And unfortunately, two of our crewmembers in the engine room were killed and one was wounded. After the boat was hit, another of the motor torpedo boats came alongside. And took the crew off and laid a smoke screen so that, hopefully, no more of the shore batteries could hit our boat which was a sitting duck really. And then, after the crew was removed, we were towed back to the assault area off Juno Beach.

Another incident that I remember very vividly was the time that we had our engines stopped and were on patrol off the coast of France and drifting mines came toward our boat. And one of our crewmembers, very bravely picked up a boat hook, which is a long pole, and very carefully eased one of the mines around the stern of our boat so that it didn't hit us. He had to be careful of course not to touch any of the spikes on the mine itself or else he would have caused an explosion. So that was a very brave thing for him to do.

The Germans seemed to drop a lot of floating mines around the area during the invasion and so it was clearly common. In fact, we lost three of our boats. Two of which were mined. And they hit a mine and were blown up and any members of the crew were lost.

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