Veteran Stories:
Donald Raven

Navy

  • Donald Raven in HMCS Crusader's office which he shared with two administrative writers. It also doubled as his sleeping quarters.

    Donald Raven
  • HMCS Crusader, ship's company, Kure, Japan, 6 December 1953.

    Donald Raven
  • A map of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Note Pearl Harbour naval base, center, bottom. HMCS Crusader stopped at Pearl Harbour on her way to Korea.

    Donald Raven
  • A newspaper clipping showing South Korean orphans living in a refugee camp on the island of Paegyong-do putting on a concert for some of the crew of HMCS Crusader, 10 December 1953.

    Donald Raven
  • From left to right: Lieutenant Commander Willson (HMCS Crusader), Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, and Commander Hayes (HMCS Cayuga) in the HMCS Haida's wardroom during St. Laurent's visit to Tokyo, Japan, 3 December 1953.

    Donald Raven
  • Pay day on HMCS Crusader, 15 December 1953. Left to right: Lieutenant Henry and Donald Raven

    Donald Raven
  • From left to right: Donald Raven, Marcel Bernier, Chuck Laviene, J. Brown, Larry Lynch and Ron Dubrick celebrating Christmas on board HMCS Crusader, 25 December 1953, Sasebo, Japan.

    Donald Raven
  • A Jeep that was destroyed during a 52 degree roll while HMCS Crusader was sailing to Hong Kong, 25 January 1954.

    Donald Raven
  • From left to right: Lieutenant Commander Eversfield, A.B Murch and Donald Raven celebrating Mr. Raven's birthday, 5 April 1954.

    Donald Raven
  • Press release on 3 September 1954, issued on the return of HMCS Crusader following her tour in Korea.

    Donald Raven
  • Press release on 3 September 1954, issued on the return of HMCS Crusader following her tour in Korea.

    Donald Raven
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"They didn’t have much to eat. They’d pick barnacles off of rocks. They’d spend all day going out to the rocks picking meat out of these barnacles for food to eat."

Transcript

Well I joined in Toronto [Ontario], HMCS York, and then they sent us out to Victoria [British Columbia] here at Esquimalt [British Columbia]. The new entry training there was six months long so I was there for six months. And then from there I was sent to Halifax [Nova Scotia]… There was the six months and then I went to the supply school where I learned to be a writer. That where I got a job as a pay writer. I really wanted to be a photographer but they didn’t want any at that time so I joined as a writer.

All we knew was it was there to be ready if anything happened, to continue wherever the [HMCS] Crusader left before. But shooting at trains and shore areas, but also the main thing at the time there also was to just patrol the ceasefire line [38th Parallel] and make sure that the North Koreans stay on their side and our people and the South Koreans stayed on the other side. A lot of time we were just at anchor, just sitting there. And landing boats to check these fishing boats which were all over us and we had radar which could pick all these things up on the radar. They’d see all these little pips all over the place and they’d go and inspect them. We had a Korean person on board that could speak the language and speak to them. And they used to go and just make sure that they were the right people on the right side. How they know I don’t know, but I guess they did. Because they all look alike and they all talk the same. They checked them out anyway.

An island we went ashore to when we were out there was called Paegyong-do and that had US Marine base on it and there were 20 000 Korean refugees on it as well. And it was quite cold actually in the wintertime when we were there. It was quite cold. We all wore winter boots and parkas and what have you because it was cold. We talked to the Korean people there. When we were there we had a bunch of orphans actually on board the ship. We threw a little party for them on the ship. They took them out in boats because we were anchored out, and they took them out in boats to the ship and we threw a party for them. And then we raised funds to buy flannel for them so they could make pajamas and stuff for them. We all donated money towards that. And we got to talk to the people. They couldn’t talk English but they were showing us things. It was interesting watching the women washing their clothes. They would take them down and beat them, put them on rocks and beat them with well just water and then beat them and they come out nice clean white clothes. Better than we do nowadays I think.

They didn’t have much to eat. They’d pick barnacles off of rocks. They’d spend all day going out to the rocks picking meat out of these barnacles for food to eat. And another thing we did, on board the ship we had – you know the cereal in the little boxes? You know like Corn Flakes and Rice Crispies and all of that sort of that? We used to fill our pockets with them and take them and give them to the kids there.

Going down there the weather was pretty good most of the time, but we hit quite a storm going to Hong Kong, just between Formosa [and mainland China]. It’s now called Taiwan I think, something like that. Formosa, going through there we hit quite a storm. I took movies of it actually as we were going, from the deck. But we rolled over. They called it broach 2. It went over on the wave and then instead of coming back it went over there further and it smashed our railing on our port side and we had a Jeep onboard and it smashed the Jeep something awful. And that was the roughest we had.

We did a kind of torpedo attack against a British cruiser, the [HMS] Newcastle it was in fact. He fire dummy torpedoes at it and they’d let you know how close you’re coming to them and all that sort of thing. At that time we were with the [HMCS] Huron, the [HMCS] Iroquois and the British destroyer, Australian destroyer. Another time – it was really called a hunter-killer exercise where you’re going after a submarine and there were four United States submarines. They were down, we had to try and find them. That sort of thing. That’s when we were with the [USS] Rendova and there was four navy destroyer squadrons there too. Quite a pile of people. And that we did when we were heading for Okinawa [Japan] in Buckner Bay [Nakagusuku Bay] there. And then another time we did what they call a large fleet exercise with the battleship [USS] Wisconsin and a bunch of cruisers and British ships. We were mixed up. It was all British, American, everything. We never did operate with any of the Columbian ships. It was mostly with the British and Americans and Australians that we operated with.

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