Leonard Arsenault in uniform.Leonard Arsenault
Leonald and his brother pictured at the age of 14 when he first joined the Navy.Leonard Arsenault
Leonard Arsenault and the crew in the mess deck on the HMCS St. Therese, 1944.Leonard Arsenault
Photo in the mess deck of the HMCS St. Therese, 1944.Leonard Arsenault
Newspaper article honouring Mr. Arsenault's family for their time in the service. Five out of thirteen siblings served and all of them survived their service.Leonard Arsenault
"You had to go down a ladder, you were down in a hole. And if something happened there was no way you could get out. That’s for sure."
My full name is Leonard Arsenault. Was born in Summerside, [Prince Edward Island] 1925. Everybody around here joined the forces. So, there was no work available and a lot of us were just going to school. And we just left school. Some of us were only in grades five and six and seven. I was in grade seven when I left. I never went back. Well, I just wanted to board a ship, that’s it. And I stayed aboard a ship until the end of the war. And while I was waiting for my discharge, they discharged me off the ship, I was just waiting, then they put me on board of a tugboat for awhile, just for something to do.
You stood watch for four hours and you were off for four hours and you were back on again for four hours. And action stations, you be go to your, whatever it was for. If it was for submarines, you would go to depth charges. If it was for aircraft, you went someplace else. My other place was in a magazine or ammunition, which wasn’t very nice. You had to go down a ladder, you were down in a hole. And if something happened there was no way you could get out. That’s for sure.
The worst one I had was a storm in the North Atlantic. We had a hard time there. The ship was rolling quite a bit. But other than that, it was…I never seen no action, real action, although we had a possible submarine between England and Ireland, what you call the Irish Sea.
I took leave one day when we were in Ireland, went to England for two weeks. That’s it.