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Boyd Edward Littlewood - Royal Canadian Navy WWII [The following memories of the war years were shared with Jenna Littlewood, by her grandfather, grandmother, and father in May, 2006. Jenna was a student of history at the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School] Boyd Edward Littlewood, my grandfather, grew up in Port Royal. At the age of twelve he completed grade eight and started fishing with his brother to support the family. He had many close calls during his fishing career. The most memorable one was a fishing trip in the Bay of Fundy on a fine January day. They were towed to the fishing grounds to set their trawl net. In the afternoon while hauling back their gear it started to snow and blow. They quickly got their gear in their dory and the other fishing boat started to tow them back to shore. It started snowing and blowing harder, when suddenly the tow rope snapped. The other fishing boat was called a 'gas boat' in those days because it had a motor. They circled to look for them but now the howling winds and blowing snow prevented the motor boat from finding the men in the dory. Those in the dory, they were left to row all night long in a blizzard as the gas boat had to save themselves. Grandfather's brother, Irvine continued to row all night long while my grandfather would both row and bail. As it got rougher, Irvine told my grandfather, "Chuck the cod but save the haddock!" With the daylight they were eventually picked up by a life boat in the middle of the Digby gut. Such a life was the life of a fisherman. My grandfather enlisted in the armed services in 1941. He first entered the army where he completed basic training at Camp 60 in Yarmouth. Within the first two weeks, he decided that he did not like the Army. He then re-enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and assigned to a destroyer on convoy duty. He was on two convoys, one from St. Johns, Newfoundland to England and the second was from Faroe Island to Murmansk, Russia. The convoys would have from sixty to eighty ships, including battleships, aircraft carriers, six to eight corvettes, destroyers and frigates. Other ships in the convoys would carry war supplies including food, ammunition, gas, and other war materials. While he was on the Murmansk run the convoy was attacked by a pack of German submarines or U-Boats as they were called. His ship broke from the convoy to depth charge the submarine and damaged and forced to surface. The ship stopped to rescue survivors. My grandfather was on the life boat to rescue survivors. During the rescue of the German survivors, the Germans were shot at by their own men. This is when my grandfather saw how scared the Germans were. They were just as scared as he was. Once on board the Canadian destroyer, the German prisoners had to be stripped down because they were covered in oil. This is when he obtained a German jacket and the set of keys. The name of the submarine was on the keys, the name was Kuhlsohrk. On the Murmansk run at times it got so cold that the boat would freeze up. The crew would have to break off the ice so the ship would not capsize. Once, he recalled that he was fifty-two days out at sea before ever touching land. They would refuel from tankers in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. My Grandfather's ship joined a naval convoy that included a brand new British aircraft carrier out of South Hampton. Their mission was to get German U-boats in the Bay Biscay along the coast of France. The unfortunate suffered great losses. During the confusion of the battle the British carrier cut one of her own destroyers in half, many lives were lost. My Grandfathers ship was giving the duty of towing the stern section of the boat back to England. For three days and nights they towed at a rate of three knots in sub infested waters. Only a skeleton crew remained below decks, the rest were on deck wearing their life jackets. On the fourth day a sea going tug revealed them of the towing. All the crew on board at this point was very relieved. Two weeks before D-Day my Grandfather and the crew escorted battleships at night to the French Coast where the battleships bombarded the French Coast all night long. The day before D-Day his ship was shelling the French Coast. On D-Day he was only one mile away from shore. To take his mind off of the war my grandfather carved models of the boats that he served on. My grandfather loves to work with wood and after he was done carving the model he would raffle it off. The money he would make by raffling off the boats he would send it home to his mother. He still has one of the Outremont in his living room. One funny event happened during the war when they were in Newfoundland. A couple a boys decide to go take a goat from a local farmer .The next morning the angry farmer came on board and asked for his goat back. The farmer ended up getting his goat and everybody had to pitch in some money for the farmer. My grandfather thought it was funny that the farmer came on board asking for his goat. My grandfather did what he had to do, but he did not have to like it. It was very difficult for my grandfather to talk about the war. He did not really speak about it. My grandmother and my father spoke about it for him. He told me about the "goat" story. My grandfather was in the navy for about five years and at the end of the war in Europe he was preparing to go to the Pacific. The crew had to wait for the bottom of the boat to be coppered and by the time that it was completed the war in the Pacific ended. He was demobilized on 24 August 1945.
German Keys
On B oard the Convoy Ships
Phot os B oyd Edward Littlewood
Crew Members
Ice on the Ship - Murmansk Run
Salvaging a Sea Plane
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Boyd Edward Littlewood Royal Canadian Navy WWII