Veteran Stories:
Grant MacLauchlan

Navy

  • Mr. MacLauchlan holding a picture of himself and Jack Dempsey in the middle, December 2009.

    Grant H. MacLauchlan
  • HMCS Cape Breton, 1944.

    Grant H. MacLauchlan
  • The MacLauchlan children from left to right: John, Betty, Grant and Margaret. All 4 served in the Canadian navy.

    Grant H. MacLauchlan
  • Petty Officer H.R. Grant MachLauchlan, R.C.N.V.R., and WREN Telegrahist MacLauchlan, W.R.C.N.S.
    photographed following their wedding which took place on July 6, 1945.

    Grant H. MacLauchlan
  • Mr. MacLauchlan "Petty Officer", second row first on the left.

    Grant H. MacLauchlan
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Listen to this story

"We were dead ducks if we stopped. We had two engines so we could run on one but keeping the engines was the life of the ship."

Transcript

Well, in north Arctic, wherever the ocean was, Atlantic and Pacific, the Canadian corvette was always on the Atlantic Ocean. We escorted convoys to Britain, from Halifax to Britain. You’re in your watch and you go to bed, you sleep four hours and you go back down the engine room. And you’re in the engine room for nine hours and go back in your bed for four hours. And it’s hard to sleep when the ship’s rolling and, and you have to sleep with your clothes on. We weren’t allowed to undress. No, they’re all reciprocating engines and triple-expansion steam. The corvette and frigates, mostly the standard engines and the destroyers had turbines; the corvettes and the frigates had reciprocating engines - they’re both a type of different engines. One’s turbine and the other is reciprocating; the crank engines. They were reciprocating engines and I was running the engines and we, we controlled the speed by the steam. The more steam we’d get, the faster the ship went. And we had two boiler rooms and they were making steam for us in the engine room. We ran our engines on the steam. We were so busy checking the engines because the engines were so important of the ship, if the engine stopped, the ship could be sunk very easy so we had to take it very very serious because of the engine and we checked the bearings and the oil and the oil became dark, the bearings became hot. And we had to avoid them because we could never stop at sea. We were dead ducks if we stopped. We had two engines so we could run on one but keeping the engines was the life of the ship. Well, there would be one, every ship there’d be three engineers and there’d be three oilers, people that oil the ship when you’re watching the engines because the engines were reciprocating and the oil system was the drip system that drip in the engines to keep them from getting hot or breaking down. The ships were reciprocating and some were turbine. Ours were, in the Canadian [Navy] were all mostly reciprocating engines, the old crank engines.
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