Veteran Stories:
Edward Rushbrook

Navy

  • Edward Rushbrook's Medals (L to R): 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star with Bar; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; War Medal 1939-1945; Canadian Centennial Medal 1967; Silver Jubilee Medal

  • HMCS Teme in Falmouth Harbour - 60 feet gone from stern as a result of accoustic torpedo attack, 1945

  • Securing ammunition lockers after torpedo attack, HMCS Teme, 1945

  • Securing deck gear as deck sinks in heavy seas, HMCS Teme, 1945

  • Securing ammunition lockers, HMCS Teme, 1945

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"Our landing craft being the flotilla leader, we were the first ones to hit the beach and the others came in all around us"

Transcript

My name is Edward D. Rushbrook. I enlisted in the Navy in 1941. Initially, I tried to get into the Air Force and couldn't because of a previous medical condition. And I went to what was then known as The Dominion Provincial Youth Training Program in Galt. It was a school where they were teaching air frame mechanics, aero-engine mechanics and wireless. I chose wireless because of previous experience in the Scouts.

I became a trained operator and when they phoned the Air Force and said, "We have 25 trained operators, where would you like them sent?," the Air Force said, "Oh, we don't need any wireless operators, we need cooks." So we switched over to Navy and they took us in. I went to Toronto. They sent us to the University of Toronto and the McLennan Lab for three months to learn the physics of sound. We built transmitters and receivers - small ones. And the idea was that we were being trained to become maintenance people for the anti-submarine detection equipment which was highly secret at that time.

After our training at the University of Toronto, we went to the east coast, to Halifax. We were trained as operators and then posted from there to Corvettes. I was on a Corvette only a couple of months and I was called in and told that I was going to be paraded before a selection board. I went before a selection board in Halifax and was promoted to a commissioned rank and I volunteered for combined operations service. For a year we trained recruits from the Fishermen's Reserve, and from lumberjacks, to operate small landing craft. Worked in conjunction with Army and Air Force on combined training programs. Then in November of 1943, we were sent overseas. Picked up our Infantry Landing Craft, which were fairly large craft. They were 160 feet long. We had a crew of 25 with two officers. We could carry 200 fully-equipped troops and these landing craft were capable of cruising for a total of 1800 miles, if necessary. We operated with eight Grey Marine diesel engines, four on each shaft. And they were quite manoeuvrable even though they had flat bottoms.

More training and then in May of 1944 we had our last full scale rehearsal. We went halfway across the English Channel and then turned around and came back and landed on the English coast. Then in the beginning of June, we took the same troops onboard, exactly as we had done before, and on the night of June 5, we set out for France. We had been delayed for 24 hours because of the poor weather. So the next morning, it was quite a sight out in the English Channel with 4000 vessels of various sizes proceeding towards France. We took the second assault wave in, but we were there when the first troops went in at 6 o'clock in the morning. We were held off cruising back and forth inside the line of battleships and heavy cruisers that were bombarding the coast. And five hours after the initial landing, we took the second wave in. We were the flotilla leader for our flotilla. We had two flotillas of Canadian landing craft... 12 in each. And then there was another half flotilla that were working with the Americans over in the Omaha Beach area. Our landing craft being the flotilla leader, we were the first ones to hit the beach and the others came in all around us. One came in on our port side and hit one of the mines, sprayed all out port side with shrapnel, wounded my captain and two of our crew. We got them all back safely to England, but we had six holes in the bottom. We lost one propeller. So it was a bit of a rough show, but we got out of there.

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