We met Liam Dwyer at the Castle Peak Retirement Suites in Bracebridge, where he presently lives. Liam is one of several authors/editors who assembled At Your Age, a collection of stories of those who live there. The residents felt it was important for them to record their stories, which serve as a great entry point into their generation’s collective experiences. As a published author, Liam took the lead in the process, and the attention it generated north of the city caught the attention of the Crestwood community, leading Mr. Masters to investigate.
Liam served in the RCN during the Second World War. He came of age and enlisted, and began his training right away, studying to be an engineer aboard ship. His studies were cut a bit short though, as the Battle of the Atlantic had created pressing need, and Liam was called upon to serve. He was posted to a minesweeper in the western part of the Atlantic and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, clearing the way for the many convoys passing through the region. He recalled many tense times from that part of the war, and remembers the tremendous pressure the crews felt. From there he was posted to the Sarnia, and he began convoy duty, patrolling the western reaches of the open ocean. On one of those mission, Liam’s ship the Sarnia came upon the remains of the Esquimault, their sister ship; it had been torpedoed by a U-boat and had lost a good portion of its crew. Liam’s ships helped with the rescue and the survivors, returning them to Halifax. With the end of the war, Liam returned to his young family, and along with others of his generation, he fell into the new rhythm of civilian life, and helped Canada to forge its postwar identity.
Oral History Project June 2nd, 2017
John Waddell served in the RCN as WW2 came to a close. His overseas duty came late in the war, so John was fortunate to avoid combat and the dangerous convoys that made up so much RCN duty. He was able to see many places though, literally going around the world and visiting the ports of Malta, Gibraltar, the Suez, and Hong Kong to name a few. John as interviewed for this project by Alex Stevenson in December 2009, and again in 2017 when Dean Sun, Ashleigh Lindayan, and David Huang visited him at Sunnybrook.
Margaret Haliburton joined the RCN in WW2, where she served as a WREN. She has spoken at Crestwood for several years, and she has brought a number of other women with her, including her sister Barbara Yule and her friend Francis Todd. All three women give students an insight into life on the home front for Canadian women.
Jack Foote served in the RCN during WW2. For many years he and Fred Walden spoke to Mr. Masters’ history classes about their support role in the D-Day invasion and aftermath. After Mr. Walden passed away in 2008, Mr. Foote decided to retire from speaking at schools but in 2010 he did agree to sit down with Patrick Park and JK Kim for an in depth interview about his wartime experiences. Since he has come of retirement and came back to Crestwood to speak to History 12 students; he was also our special guest for Remembrance Day 2010, when he was featured on a special broadcast of Crestwood’s Remembrance Day assembly. We visited him in his home in April 2016, when he spoke with Will Paisly, Rory Peckham and Harlan Rich.