Veteran Stories:
Tom Peters

Navy

  • On deck the HMCS Lachine while at sea in 1945

  • The officers of the HMCS Lachine and guests from the town of Lachine onboard for a dinner party in Halifax Harbour in August 1944

  • The crew of the HMCS Lachine assembled on the quarterdeck at noon hour in May 1945

  • Crew in front of Swordfish Torpedo bomber the Royal Canadian Navy was interested in using during the war, RCAF Airfield near St. John's, New Brunswick, October 1942

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"They were outstanding. They were good men, their word was good, and if something happened... they couldn't be there, there was a reason for it. And you knew you would carry on."

Transcript

My name is Tom Peters. I was with the RCNVR [Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve] - the Navy. It was in the Second World War.

We were one of ten diesel powered minesweepers, and there just happened to be ten of us made. There was another forty or fifty of the same class - Bangors - minesweepers. And they were all built for patrolling off of Halifax, St. John's Newfoundland, and running out to various jobs that they would be needed on. We got about twenty-eight to twenty-nine days a month of sea time, so they did a wonderful job. They were twin screwed, and very efficient. They handled most of the western ocean stuff, and then the Corvettes took over going across to Great Britain up until about 1944, and then they began to get some bigger ships coming along. Bigger Corvettes and Frigates and that. And they took over more of that, plus provided additional screening services out, removed from the ships that were escorting the convoys.

There were several things, little things, that always add to life's experience. Our supply assistant, unbeknownst to us, became involved with the wife of a Sergeant who was overseas, and they decided to get married. So the Sergeant from overseas decided he would divorce them. And I was given the job of serving the supply assistant with papers for dealing with the divorce. We had to take him to shore, and I'm still out about eighteen dollars worth of funds for taking him in, getting a lawyer, giving it to him. He didn't have any money (laughing).

I can say now that good officers really were worth their weight in gold. People like Fred Spindler, Harry Littleford, and Ben Whelan, Chief Ralph Conrad, were people I corresponded with as long as they lived after the war because I figure they set examples for me to follow. They were outstanding. They were good men, their word was good, and if something happened... they couldn't be there, there was a reason for it. And you knew you would carry on.

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