Veteran Stories:
Fraser McKee

Navy

  • HMS Algerine
    Credit: SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2 (http://www.naval-history.net) by Lt. Cdr. Geoffrey B. Mason, RN (Rtd) (c) 2001.

    Mr. McKee served on an Algerine minesweeper for the duration of his active service from 1944-45.

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"I had also become involved with the Navy League of Canada, and became chairman of Sea Cadets for Ontario, and then Ontario President of the Navy League, and finally National President of the Navy League."

Transcript

I'm Fraser McKee. I was born in Toronto, raised and went to school here. I had been in the Cadet Corps at the school I had gone to, and by the time I left school I was a Drill Sergeant. By the time I was eighteen in February of 1943, I had joined the services without having to lie about my age, so I decided I'd go into the Navy. I spent a year as an Ordinary Seaman and went through basic training, and then I spent part of the summer months of 1943 down at a Sea Cadet camp. The Navy by this time was helping support the Sea Cadet movement, with the idea that they were getting trained seamen by the time the boys were old enough to join the services. I was part of a working party as a seaman at an island down near Kingston, by Gananoque, training Sea Cadets. Then I went down to Cornwallis in the fall of 1943. Did my basic seaman training, and then in the spring I went to sea for a short while as a seaman on an armed motor yacht, working out of Cornwallis, between Digby and St. John, New Brunswick. Then I came before a board, as the rest of the class said they wanted to get commissions if they could. Twenty of us passed the board, and we were then Probationary Sub-Lieutenants (Temporary). We had a bit of leave and then went to Prince Edward Island; just to get our feet wet as brand new officers at the Reserve Division there. Did my Sub-Lieutenant's courses at HMCS King's at Halifax, and then I was at a loop station for part of the winter of 1944/45, between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Then I went to sea in an Algerine Escort. They were built as minesweepers in the Royal Navy, but they were called Algerines because the first of them was HMS Algerine. We had twelve of them, but we used them as ocean escorts working out of Halifax. I was in her when the war ended, and then I came back to Toronto when I was released from the active service in March of 1946. I rejoined the Naval Reserve, and then retired in 1975 from the Navy finally as a Commander. I had also become involved with the Navy League of Canada, and became chairman of Sea Cadets for Ontario, and then Ontario President of the Navy League, and finally National President of the Navy League. Then I became the Executive Director of the Navy League for two years in Ottawa, and finally retired entirely. Since then I've written books. I've written five of them, but all on Navy history or Merchant Navy history.
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