Robert Malcolm Lunan. There, I’m official. I was born in Montreal. I lived in Montreal, actually Montreal all of my life, until I moved out and went up to NDG [Notre-Dame-de-Grâce]. And I’m a Montrealer through and through.
At the beginning of the war, I worked in Marconi Company and doing electrical work and assembly work on radios and testing equipment and that sort of stuff. So I became actually an electrical repairman and my dad then went into electrical work in the town of Mount Royal [Quebec] and then I became an electrician doing work on there, went to Montreal Tech to learn electricity. I became a complete electrician. I did a lot of repair work, at that time I was a handyman type of thing. And that was the, I guess the start of my idea to go, when I went into the navy, that I would be apply for some kind of electrical work. And at that time, the navy bought the old American destroyers and they needed people that were familiar with AC and DC and everything else. And I fell right into that. My aunt knew somebody in the navy and they kind of said, well, you should apply to the navy, they’re looking for somebody that can look after these destroyers. They’re the old four funnelers that had been built in 1917.
And I had been working on different things and doing repair work. I worked in the Montreal General Hospital sometimes and I did other repair work. So that was my background. And they took me on I guess just about immediately and I was a volunteer into the navy in 1939.
I was almost two years at sea doing convoy duty and I was an electrical E.A. onboard the ship. And we did a lot of repair work because it was an older model. I looked after the generators and certain other work, doing in the engine room and in the boiler room.
I can always remember sitting on the side of the deck with my feet over the side and a degaussing cable across my knees with my feet all, and repairing and taping up some damaged wire, type of thing like that. We did a combination of everything I guess you could say electrical onboard the ship.
Well, I loved it when we were at sea and doing convoy duty off of Iceland. We got saddled a few times with extra work. I was in Iceland in the repair, in the service in Iceland the one time when the Hood and some of the other big ships got into trouble with the German navy and the H.M.S. Hood was sunk [on the morning of 24 May 1941]. I don’t know whether I should say it but I took a picture of the Hood. I was a, when working with them, I worked and saved my rum and bought a camera.