Personal Blog by Roger Litwiller
This has been a very productive and fortunate year for me. I have had the good fortune to be able to attend Battle of Atlantic services in Halifax and Ottawa.
I was honoured to attend the service and committal ceremony in HMCS MONTREAL off Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park on the Sunday. Also the Merchant Marine Service on Saturday and BOA Dinner at the Marine Museum of the Atlantic, hosted by Canada’s Naval Memorial Trust, on Friday night. Prior to heading east, I attended the Battle of Atlantic Gala Dinner in Ottawa, hosted by the Naval Association of Canada at the Canadian War Museum.
During the summer, the RCN traveled west, HMCShips VILLE DE QUEBEC, KINGSTON and GOOSE BAY visited the Great Lakes. This has given me the opportunity to take pictures in locations and vantage points that normally are not available.
Needless to say, I have taken a considerable number of photos this year with Canada’s Navy as the main subject. With great difficulty, I have selected my personal Top Ten Photos of 2016.
10. Actually a combination of two photos, marking a heart-warming meeting of young sailor with her parents. On 27 June, I was at Iroquois Lock on the St. Lawrence River awaiting the arrival of two MCDV’s, HMCS KINGSTON and GOOSE BAY. A small crowd was gathered and as the two ships approached, one couple became very excited. Ruth and Jon Aikens were holding a very large rolled up banner and were asking others at the fence if they could have a clear space. I listened, as they explained their daughter Gracie was in KINGSTON and this was the first they were going to see her in some time and had a special note for her on the banner they had made.
KINGSTON entered the lock and Jon and Ruth held the banner high. As KINGSTON slipped through the lock, they pointed and waved franticly at a young sailor standing on the bridge wing of the MCDV. Grace, just as excitedly, waved back. Then one of Grace’s shipmates handed her the binoculars so she could read the banner. Using signal flags and pictures, Mom and Dad had spelt out, HI GRACE Love You!
9. HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC was in the St. Lawrence River near Upper Canada Village on 12 September. She was sailing for Lake Ontario and a quick fall tour of the Lake. I was able to get a clear picture of her anchored just west Cornwall.
8. Assisted by RCN Tugs GLENSIDE and GLENNEVIS, HMCS MONTREAL returns to HMC Dockyard following Battle of Atlantic Ceremonies on 1 May 2016.
7. Outbound from Halifax, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN passes the container ship, Allise P inbound to discharge her multi-million dollar cargo, fueling Canada’s economy on 1 May 2016.
6. A Royal Canadian Navy sailor stands sentry in HMCS MONTREAL as her sister frigate, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN proceeds to sea on 1 May 2016.
5. Three generations of RCN ships alongside HMC Dockyard in Halifax on 1 May 2016. The modern frigate, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN is on the left, recently decommissioned Cold War era destroyer, ex-HMCS IROQUOIS lays on the right and the last WWII corvette and Canada’s Naval Memorial, HMCS SACKVILLE is on the far wall. Together these three ships represent seventy-five years of Canadian Naval history.
4. HMCS MONTREAL’s ship’s company man ship during the Battle Of Atlantic Service held in their ship at the same time as the “land” service at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. The frigate is laying off the park on 1 May 2016.
3. Two Canadian MCDV’s approach Iroquois Lock in the St. Lawrence River on 27 June 2016. HMCS KINGSTON leads HMCS GOOSE BAY through the final lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway system for the summer Great Lakes tour.
2. One of the most poignant events I have ever had the honour to attend was in HMCS MONTREAL on 1 May 2016 during the committal at sea of twenty-seven Canadian veterans. In turn, the families brought forward the cremated remains of their loved one and placed them lovingly on the committal board and draped with our Naval Ensign. The padres said a few words followed by the sharp thrill from the bosun’s calls of the piping party, as the board was lifted and the remains slipped into the water below.
1. My personal favourite! During this summer’s Great Lakes tour, HMCS GOOSE BAY visited Cobourg Ontario. Anchored off the harbour, I was able to capture the ship during sunrise on Lake Ontario with an impromptu escort of Canadian Geese on 6 July 2016.
I hope you have enjoyed these photos as much as I have enjoyed taking them.
Happy New Year, may 2017 hold many new adventures for us all.