60th Anniversary Nov5.1940-2000
Saint John, NB, Canada
Together They Remember
Hundreds of people from here and abroad attend an emotional Saint John
ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Jervis Bay
Robert Squires doesn't remember much
about the day he was pulled from the icy Atlantic after clinging to a raft for
nearly 14 hours. All he knows is that he was "lucky to come out of it in
Mr. Squires, of West Saint John, was one of 65 survivors of the HMS Jervis
Bay, sunk in 1940 by a German battleship, claiming 183 lives.
Yesterday, Mr. Squires, one of only eight Canadian survivors, was among more
than 200 people who took part in a parade and commemorative ceremony at the
cenotaph at Ross Memorial Park, marking the 60th anniversary.
"It means everything," said Mr. Squires, 80, his blue eyes clearly
emotional before laying a wreath in the Victoria Street East park. "It's
About 30 of those in attendance during the rainy ceremony were from England
and Scotland, relatives of crew members. Mike
Chappell of Edenbridge, Kent, whose father James Harold George Chappell,
chief engineer, died on the ship, raised nearly $12,000 to bring families to
It's a great honour for us to be
here," said Chris Davison of Dover, England. His late father, Tom Davison,
a naval seaman, was one of the survivors rescued by a Swedish ship about 1,000
miles from Halifax. This was Mr. Davison's first trip to Saint John, but his
late father was here in 1983 to visit the memorial. "We hope to be
carrying on the tradition of remembering those who gave their lives," said
Mr. Davison, a chief engineer, who laid a wreath representing the U.K.
His son, Mark Davison, 28, who lives in London, said he found the ceremony
particularly poignant because he is the same age his grandfather was when the
ship went down. "I can't begin to imagine what it would be like," he
The Jervis Bay was an armed merchant ship that spent much of its drydock
time in Saint John during the second World War. In October 1940, it left
Halifax, escorting 37 other food-laden merchant ships to a starving England.
One of Germany's famed pocket battleships, the Admiral Scheer, attacked the
convoy and the Jervis Bay rushed to the attack despite the difference in vessel
size and firepower, laying down a smokescreen to enable the convoy to break up
and escape. Capt. Fogarty Fegan, who went down with the ship, was posthumously
awarded the Victoria Cross.
Don Peters, of Essex, England, welcomed the opportunity yesterday to pay
tribute to his father, Sydney Peters, chief butcher. "There's nothing to
describe or show our appreciation," said Mr. Peters, who was only three
years old when his father died. "It's quite emotional for my family,"
he said, adding he was "overwhelmed". Mr. Peters noted that he made
many friends over the weekend including Mr. Davison. "If it's done one
thing, it's brought us all together; people who know the story and
A plaque to commemorate the founders
of Ross Memorial Park was also unveiled yesterday. The founders were Leon
Sautiere, Ron Harding, J.C. Sonny Thomas, Bill Cawley and Fred Gamblin.
Among those present were Saint John MP Elsie Wayne, Liberal candidate Paul
Zed, and Saint John Mayor Shirley McAlary.
By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, Staff Writer, Saint John Times Globe Monday,
November 6, 2000
|Visitors from England|
|Barbara Fegan||Niece||Capt. Fegan RN VC|
|Michael Chappell||Son||Comm. JHG Chappell, C.Eng.|
|Chris Davison||Son||Tom Davison, AB (Survivor)|
|Cynthia Bridges||Daughter||Samuel Miles, Gunner|
|John Penfold & Patricia||Nephew||Lt.Comm. Driscoll|
|Michael Sharphington & Audrey||Nephew|
|Ronald Rainsbury & June||Brother||Thomas F. Rainsbury, AB RNVR|
|Don Peters & Elizabeth Goodwin||Son||S.A.Peters, RNR|
|Visitors from Scotland|
|Joanne Mackay & Angus||Daughter||Robert Durrend, RNR Seaman (Survivor)|
|James Bain & Margaret||Son||James Bain, RNR Seaman|
|James Anderson & Anne||Son||James Anderson, RNR Seaman|
|James Oag||Son||William Oag, RNR Seaman (Survivor)|
|John Innes||Son||John Innes, Seaman|