Veteran Stories:
Peter “Gery” Germaniuk

Navy

  • Peter Germaniuk in his riggin' (sailor's uniform), 1943, likely in HMCS Cape Breton.

    Peter Germaniuk
  • Motor Torpedo Boat No. 463. This vessel struck a mine in the English Channel on July 8, 1944: Peter Germaniuk was wounded in that action.

    Library and Archives Canada
  • Peter Germaniuk, Calmar, Alberta, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Burial at sea, HMCS Ribble, December 1944.

    Peter Germaniuk
  • The River-class frigate HMCS Cape Breton (K 350). Peter Germaniuk served in this vessel in 1943.

    Peter Germaniuk
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"I would be gun loader, loading two torpedoes, one on each side, and so my job was just lay down beside the torpedo, and the gunner is sitting on top of it."

Transcript

My name is Peter Germaniuk. I was in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. My number V31875 and I was a wireless telegraphist. I joined the navy on April 1942, at the age of 17. And discharged honourary in 1945.

I served on HMCS Caraquet (J38), minesweeper on the west coast, and then went around to Halifax with it and then I was put on a frigate called the HMCS Cape Breton. I didn’t last long on there because I was just training wireless operators. Then I went onto the HMCS Charlottetown. That was a frigate too, and a couple of us didn’t seem to like that there. When we got back into Halifax, we got ready to, sort of a highball and we took off on a ship. I got over to England to Greenwich and that’s where my good stuff, lots of action there. I got on a Motor Torpedo Boat [MTB], the [HMCMTB] 459 [part of the 29th Canadian MTB Flotilla] that was skipped by the commander of the fleet. It was a 49th motorboat for training. And then I got onto the [HMCMTB] 463 and we were working in the English Channel. And during the Normandy landing, I was on the 463. We survived an explosion. We ran into a mine, survived an explosion on July the 8th, 1944. I had a knife in my slot, in my back pocket, you might say, and it bent into a 90 degree. After that, I spent 32 days in hospital in England, a Canadian Army hospital, they didn’t have much.

After that, I came out across the hospital, I went onto a frigate that was built by the Englishmen and it was called HMCS Ribble (K251), RIBBLE, on December 24th, 1944, when we sank a Nazi U-boat numbered 1209. The frigates were just sort of, I don’t know, I was on them, but my best part of living was on the mortar torpedo boats because we had action there. When we went into action on the English Channel in Westerham [England], I would be gun loader, loading two torpedoes, one on each side, and so my job was just lay down beside the torpedo, and the gunner is sitting on top of it. And I’d slap on, as soon as he took the ring off, this is like a flat unit, it’s loaded with about 100 shells or more. And what you do is when he kicks his off and he kicks me and I slap on, I’m laying alongside the torpedo, and I slap on there. So that was my action stuff because we didn’t need a telegraphist or either anything except to be a loader. And I did that on a number of the minesweepers. I’d ask for these things, I just like to see a little bit. I wouldn’t want to sit in the inside all the time. I wanted to sit outside.

We left Dover or whatever port we were at on the English side, we just leave about 4:00, head over to the French side actually. And we lay mines, small mines or we’d go into action and I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it when I came back, because I came back.

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