Neil Goodwill and Daniel Kendrick in Sasebo, Japan, 1953.Daniel Kendrick
HMCS Huron travelling to Sasebo, Japan for repairs after running aground on the Korean island of Yang-do on 13 July 1953.Daniel Kendrick
HMCS Huron in dry dock for repairs in Sasebo, Japan after running aground on the Korean island of Yang-do on 13 July 1953.Daniel Kendrick
A page from HMCS Huron's gear room log book. Of particular note is the cartoon drawing at the top of the right hand page which says, "Wednesday 8 July at sea, second patrol We are going train busting to-night," complete with a drawing of a "Commie train" being shot at by Huron.Daniel Kendrick
On the left, log entry for 13 July 1953, the day HMCS Huron ran aground. In the middle of the page, "Ran aground @ 0035. Ship off rocks @ approx 0440 and proceeded to other side of island for shoring."Daniel Kendrick
Page from HMCS Huron's log (29 April 1953 to unknown date). The portion of the last entry on the left page says, "Run aground @ 00:38 main engine stopped @ 00:39 Came off on own power @ 04:26." The right hand page depicts the Huron's slow trip to Sasebo, Japan for repairs, arriving on the 18 July 1953.Daniel Kendrick
Daniel Kendrick in Ottawa, Ontario, August 2012.Historica Canada
"And I remember going down in there and looking and all I could see was big black rocks and black water and a great big hole."
I was commodore’s coxswain in the dockyard, the Commodore Engineering, Commodore Porteous. And, I thought I wasn’t meant to be working in somebody’s house, I was meant to be out at sea, so I’d asked to be moved out. So they put me on the [HMCS] Huron. And we were heading for Korea, and we went to Korea and we left Halifax [Nova Scotia] and my wife was pregnant again with our second child. And I - just one of those things. But we went through the canal, Panama Canal, and up the coast and then worked our way across to Hawaii.
And we started our tours at Korea and we would go, we started on the west coast first, and did [aircraft] carrier patrol. And we were watching over the carriers for two things – that nobody attacked them, and the other part was if one of them crashed, we would go in and pick up the survivors or whatever, if they did. And then we’d go back into Sasebo [Japan] for a few days – not very long – and refuel and restock for the food and stuff. And then we’d go to the east coast and that was where you did train-busting in support of the army.
At night, and in the dark, and they’d shut down everything onboard the ship and just glide along the coast of Korea, and then you’d – the personnel, a lot of them would be up on deck listening to see if they heard a train or whistle or whatever. And if they did, and they did, they fired a star shell on it. First time I saw a star shell light up, oh boy, it really lights up, it comes down on a parachute, floats to earth, but it just lights up everything, and as soon as they see the train, then they start shooting at it, trying to hit it before it heads into a tunnel. And the trains were carrying ammunition and vehicles and everything for the North Koreans coming back down into fight our guys. So you wanted to try food and rations, and whatever. And all you wanted to do was make sure that you stopped them. And the light went out before we knew what, whether we had got it or not but, yeah.
And then, the one time we went up one of the rivers, I don’t know if it was the Yangtze River - one of the rivers in North Korea, to provide support to the army, the American and Canadian army, and we’d just got up there aways and the fog settled in, and we couldn’t see where we were going and of course the radar being as bad as it was then, we tried to get back out of the river before somebody started blowing us out of the water. And we made it, and we got out of it okay.
The night in March* that we ran aground, and we were doing train-busting, and then we went out and then we were called to come back in and watch, or guard, Pang [Yang]-do Island, and, a lot of us were asleep, but the shifts that were working – I heard all sorts of stories about what happened. The captain had, and what we heard, had finally said, well, he’d thought it was pretty easy now because we were just going to go and do patrol around this island. And, he went to bed. And the young officer took over – a couple of them, and, I know for a fact because I know one chap and he lives right here in Ottawa, that was on the radar and that, and they had told him that we were heading for shore. And, he ignored it and said, “No, your readings are wrong.” And we were going, not full steam, because of the fog we’d slowed down a bit, but the watchmen had seen the land ahead and we ran right into this island we were protecting.
And like all the rest of them, we started running up to the upper deck to see what was going on. And, the engineering officer got a hold of me, Lieutenant-Commander [H.D.] Minogue, got a hold of me and he asked me to go down into the forward hold where the damage was. And I remember going down in there and looking and all I could see was big black rocks and black water and a great big hole. And, I went, “wow!” So anyway, I went up and told him what it was, and we’d have to do some shoring [up] to protect the plates from being pushed further apart. And then I went to the engine room and I looked after the evaporator, because I had knowledge of evaporators, and they took the senior guy, I guess, and I had, that was to make fresh water. So I did, been all shook up with the jolt. And I was, being in the engine room, I was watching what was going on with the engines and the engineering officer and the chief ERA [Engine Room Artificer] and chief stoker we were, they were all in there. And, we waited for the tide to come in, and when it lifted us high enough, we started full steam astern to try and pull ourselves off the rocks and it wasn’t working so what they did was shut one engine down and got the other one up to running level and pulled that way and then stopped it and pulled the other one, so we wiggled ourselves off the rocks. And then we pulled around to the side of the island where we were away from the shore batteries. And we went up and shored up the damage in the mess deck and the forward end.
I think that was one of the strangest feelings in a sense, thinking that, “Wow, there’s all those ships and aircraft out and a horseshoe behind us, and if the shore battery had opened up, they would have lambasted them and blown them right out of the …”
So we’d shored up the ship, and then, we tried to go ahead, but because the plates on the front fo’c’sle [forecastle] had been pushed back and the water was pushing them back more and tearing more of the plates off, so they stopped - we stopped, and an American tug tried to blast the ASDIC** dome that had dropped down, they tried to blast it off with dynamite, and it didn’t work which scared us onboard because it shook us. And then they took a big wire and attached it around it, and onto one of the tugs and then took a ram out and tried to break it off that way. Just about took the front end of the ship off and scared us again. They said, “That was enough of that.” They went and they brought a Landing Ship Dock. The first time I had ever seen one. It’s a big ship, but it’s got an open back, and then they almost sink it down with, the bridge is high on it, but they sink it down in the water and then tried to get us up into it, to look at some of the repairs or what they could do out there. And because of the dome being down, we couldn’t get into it, so that took that out of it.
And then there was two tugs, American tugs. One towed us and we went astern, all the way from Korea back to Sasebo, Japan. And, we got to the gates at Sasebo, and the captain, he was a good guy. We really liked him. He was for the men. We stopped and he wouldn’t let them tow us in to harbour. So we turned around and went into Sasebo Harbour on our own.
*13 July 1953
**Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee (sonar)