Veteran Stories:
Fred Plastow

Navy

  • The HMCS Peterborough at the Kingston shipyards in May 1944.

    Fred Plastow
  • Fred Plastow on leave in 1943.

    Fred Plastow
  • A photograph of HMCS Peterborough's crew. Fred Plastow is on the far right in the second row.

    Fred Plastow
  • The officers of HMCS Peterborough. Captain Jack Raines is seated in the front row, second from the left.

    Fred Plastow
  • Fred Plastow's medals (from left to right): 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and the 1939-1945 War Medal.

    Fred Plastow
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"I don’t think personally, and if anybody really thinks about it, war doesn’t accomplish anything for anyone."

Transcript

June 1944, picked up the HMCS Peterborough and we went to Bermuda, to what they called work-ups and gunnery practice and what have you. And then we came back to Halifax and at that time, we went in for a refit to check the boilers and so on and there was an explosion in the ammunition dump at Bedford Basin at that time. And we couldn’t get out of the harbour because we didn’t have any steam on so we had to abandon ship and get up on the Sentinel Hill. If you’ve ever been to Halifax, it’s a high point in Halifax that they used to use. After that, we went up the St. Lawrence to Montreal and Toronto and got provisions and then went back to St. John, Newfoundland, and we got our convoy, got our listing for our convoy, which was six or eight ships. And we would go to a point that’s called West Hump, about four hundred miles east of St. John, Newfoundland, and pick up our convoy and then take it over to Ireland and England and Scotland. Well, after a while, I mean, the first month or so, it was a little touchy but I think the main thing is, with the North Atlantic, if anybody’s ever watched some of the movies they’ve had on the Pacific and the storms and things that come up in the North Atlantic, there was one particular storm and I had a camera that I took pictures, they allowed one or two cameras aboard, so I was one of the ones that had a camera. So I had pictures of this one particular storm, it was in the winter one year and it lasted for about a week and of course, we, I got up in the crow’s nest and I had to look up to the waves, they were probably at least 75 to 100 feet. And of course, yeah, I was an ASDIC [sonar] operator, anti-submarine. And of course, as soon as we got out of the harbour, which the harbour along the east coast had submarine nets, that the submarines couldn’t get into the harbour. And when the war first broke out, the Germans were able to get into the harbours and sink some of the ships. And also the St. Lawrence River, I forget what now, if you’ve ever heard of the Caribou, it was a ferry that went from Digby, Nova Scotia to St. John, Newfoundland. And I think it was in either 1939 or 1940, in that area, well, I guess it was after 1939, 1940 or 1941, it was torpedoed in the Straits of St. Lawrence. I don’t think personally, and if anybody really thinks about it, war doesn’t accomplish anything for anyone.
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