All posts by Dinger

About Dinger

A sea cadet at RCSCC LION from 1963 to 1968, I joined the Naval Reserve at HMCS STAR in 1968 as a Bos'n. I was an Officer Cadet in the ROUTP, commissioned in 1971, and awarded my watchkeeping ticket in 1973. I served at sea, at one time or another, in all five Gate Vessels and HMCS FORT STEELE & CHAUDIERE as well as the Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St. Laurent and served as OIC of the patrol vessels RALLY and RAPID. At STAR from 1968 to 2007, I served as XO twice and then as CO from 2002 to 2005. I rounded out my career by serving as SSO Training at NAVRESHQ in Quebec City in 2008, retiring in 2009 as CO of HMCS HUNTER in Windsor. I was Executive Director for the Friends of HMCS HAIDA till 2011 and have been an active volunteer onboard HAIDA since she arrived in Hamilton in 2003.

HMCS QUESNEL’s Totem

HMCS QUESNEL was a Flower Class Corvette commissioned in May of 1941 in Esquimalt.  Prior to going to the East Coast in September of 1942, she took shelter in Alert Bay, BC from a storm.  Some members of the crew went ashore and returned to the ship, having pilfered a carved Thunderbird from a burial ground.  The totem was repaired and painted and mounted on the ship’s mast as a talisman.  QUESNEL was paid off in 1945 at Sorel Quebec, sold to United Steel & Metal Company for scrapping and finally broken up in Hamilton in 1946.

Twenty-nine other corvettes were broken up at Hamilton after the war.  Of all those ships, only one artefact has come into our possession: the mast of HMCS CHILLIWACK which is mounted on our quarterdeck.  It is likely that, when ships were paid off, items of value disappeared prior to the ship going to the scrapyard.  However, if someone, somewhere, knows something about the missing totem, it would be nice to return it home.

See http://www.forposterityssake.ca/GALLERIES/QUESNELS-THUNDERBIRD.htm for more information.

 The Thunderbird on QUESNEL’s mast.

http://www.navy.gc.ca/project_pride/photo_archive/photo_archive_description_page_e.asp?section=1&ImgNegNum=O-741-34, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7122862