The Crow's Nest - not to be confused with the later Crowsnest magazine, produced from 1948-1965 - was founded in July 1942 and published every month by HMCS CORNWALLIS "by kind permission of Captain J.C.I. Edwards, RCN".
Printed by the Truro Printing & Publishing Company Limited, the Crow's Nest was a news-packed read in thrilling times, and a strong chronicle of the Royal Canadian Navy's wartime activities.
Copies of The Crow's Nest are provided here in PDF format for the enjoyment of our web site visitors/researchers. This material is being relocated to a new area on our site in the near future, and more copies will be added, along with other useful publications...
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The modern term for it is ‘redaction’. Back in Frank Udell's day, it was called censorship, as in the bureaucratic process of deleting information that might compromise national security.
In modern governmentspeak, this revising and editing is not really identified as censorship. The word redact instead presents itself as something much more clinical, an act that's surgical yet vague. Often, nowadays, this intervention takes the form of bold black strokes to obliterate bits of data embedded in emails and ‘secret’ diplomatic cables.
During the Second World War, the censors were much more direct. They snipped away at the offending words with sharp tools, and an even sharper eye for stray knowledge embedded in letters home that might aid the enemy.
"When Winston Churchill speaks of the Battle of the Atlantic he really means something," Udell said of his experience. It was certainly something to write home about...
Recent donations to this museum of objects connected to the history of HMCS Esquimalt are powerful reminders of the tragedy of loss and anguish experienced by her crew.
HMCS Esquimalt was the last Canadian warship sunk by enemy action during the Second World War. In the early morning of 16 April, 1945, just weeks before the war's end, the Bangor class minesweeper was on anti-submarine patrol off the harbour approaches to Halifax, NS when it was torpedoed by German submarine U-190.
Able Seaman Albert Bruce Campbell of B.C. was the second-last survivor of the Esquimalt sinking. When he died on June 22 this year, age 94, the museum received his medals and naval uniform, including the seaman's cap he had on when the ship went down, the same cap AB Campbell wore for six hours in the icy waters of the Atlantic while waiting and hoping to be rescued. He is credited with saving several lives in those dreadful hours, keeping spirits buoyed up with his cheerfulness and cool, collected attitude, attributes that later earned him a citation for gallantry.
Another important artifact recently donated to this museum is a ship's pennant for HMCS Esquimalt that belonged to the late Frank Smith, one of 26 crewmembers to survive the sinking.
The pennant was signed by HMCS Esquimalt crew members and dated July 16, 1944, just nine months before the ship went down.The signing took place during a period when the vessel was in for repair or refit, and many of those who added their names to this souvenir may have gone on to other ships.
Some of the names have virtually disappeared from the pennant over time, or can't be deciphered. But there are several names on the pennant of men who went down with the ship, or died in the water during the agonizing hours that followed. It is sobering to see the handwriting of these men who, in a few short months, would have their names added to the list of Canada's war dead from the Second World War: Stoker Olaf Elmer Berge of Vancouver, BC; Stoker Anthony Gallagher of Vancouver; Leading Sick Berth Attendant Arnold Douglas Hedstrom, Calgary, Alberta; Stoker Carlton Joseph Jacques, Windsor, Ontario; Leading Seaman Herbert Russel Knight, Leamington, Ontario; Able Seaman John Martin Monaghan, Toronto, Ontario; Chief Motor Mechanic John Clifford Porter, London, Ontario; Able Seaman Ralph Zbarsky, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.