Website Tells Story of Heroic Jervis Bay

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon Times Globe staff writer
As Reported in the "Evening Times-Globe", Wed. Nov.5, 1997


The New Brunswick Community College Saint John campus will be helping people around the world to recognize the contributions of some local veterans.

Using the latest in technology, Computer Programming Technology instructor Joe Marriott has developed a website for the Jervis Bay Legion, Branch No. 53.

It will be officially launched tonight in honour of the 57th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Jervis Bay, which was sunk by a German ship while it escorted a convoy of ships through the North Atlantic during the Second World War.

"I'm pleased to be able to do a memorial to the veterans," said Mr. Marriott, who has worked on the website during his spare time since last summer. "I think it's something we should definitely not forget. "

The site is a complete virtual tour of the Ross Memorial Park, which was created by a handful of Legion members about six years ago. It includes photographs of all the monuments at the Victoria Street park and a historical explanation about their significance.

"It's something I would like to share with the world," said Mr. Marriott, a self professed history buff who was inspired by the impressive monuments and the amount of work done by the Legion members.

Mr. Marriott, whose father was in the military and is a past president of a Legion branch in Nova Scotia, also listed links where additional information can be found on the Internet.

J.C.(Sonny) Thomas, past president of Branch No. 53, is excited about the site. "I didn't know Joe was going to do it up that big", said Mr. Thomas, who first met Mr. Marriott in the park last summer. "I'm very impressed with it and I've been telling people about it. "

The launch of the website will be tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Jervis Bay Legion, Branch 53, following a wreath-laying ceremony with surviving crew member Bob Squires at Ross Memorial Park around 7 p. m.

The British merchant ship Jervis Bay had been in dry dock in Saint John in 1940. But it left after a refit as an armed merchant ship to help escort the convoy to Britain. Encountered by the Admiral Scheer, a German convoy raider, the Jervis Bay managed to save all but three of the other 38 ships in the convoy by diverting the enemy away before it was shelled and sunk by the Scheer. Of 255 crew members of the jervis Bay, only 65 survived.


Click to Enlarge
Bob Squires, survivor of HMS Jervis Bay, lays a wreath on behalf of ship and crew.

Click to Enlarge
Wally Joyce, President RCL#53, layed the wreath on behalf of the Legion. Here, he watches Sonny Thomas, RCL#53 lay the wreath on behalf of the Main Brace Association.

Click to Enlarge
Fred Cobhan lays the wreath on behalf of the Merchant Navy Association.

Click to Enlarge
The HMS Jervis Bay Memorial.

Click to Enlarge
Rev. Ernest Lake reads the prayer while Capt. Charles Stark, Merchant Navy, looks on.

Click to Enlarge
Following the cermony at Ross Memorial Park, the official launching ceremony of this website was conducted at RCL Branch #53. Pictured here is Rev. Lake and J.E.Marriott, Instructor of Computer Programming Technology, NBCC-SJ, Website Developer.


"Memorial Prayer"

"Eternal God and Father of us all, we praise your Holy Name for the victory you gave us in the world wide struggle for liberty and freedom in the Second World War.

We remember our gallant comrades aboard His Majesty's A.M.C. Jervis Bay who turned their converted freighter toward the enemy despite the tremendous odds in both size of vessel and firepower - not counting the cost, but daring to shield their convoy with human courage and prayerful trust that their effort would help the convoy elude the Nazi pocket battleship Admiral Scheer.

With thankful remembrance we give tribute to Captain E.S. Fogarty Fegen and crew members of the Jervis Bay who paid the supreme sacrifice. We also remember with gratitude the armed freighter Beaverford and the full complement of Captain Hugh Pettigrew and crew who took up the struggle and held the German battleship for a further five hours but at 10:45 sank with all hands.

Finally, Father we thank you that the Swedish freighter Stureholm braved the rescue of 65 survivors from the Jervis Bay of whom Robert Squires is an honoured member of our Legion Branch. Amen."


<< Previous | Top | Next >>