009.jpg
Rank: A.B.
Unit: RCNVR, H.M.C.S Chippawa
Division: Navy
| Service Personnel Information | | Essay | | Globe and Mail - Article about Explosion (War Museum) | Military Service Record | Grave Reference | | Additional information/links | Bibliography | Archival Reference | Internet Sites

Service Personnel Information

  • Name: Joseph Andrew Richard Robert Gauthier
  • Service Regimental Number: V-43226
  • Rank: A.B. or Able Seaman
  • Height/weight: 5 Feet, 7 Inches
  • Colour of eyes: Hazel
  • Marital status: Single
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Address: 846 Flora Avenue, Wpg, Manitoba
  • Next of Kin (and relationship): Mr. Henry Gauthier, Father
  • Date of enlistment: 22nd July, 1942
  • City and province of enlistment: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Essay

Lest We Forget

Young Joseph Gauthier was fresh out of high school at the age of 17 when the Second World War started. He was becoming an electrician before he enlisted into the navy. Joseph was five foot seven, had hazel eyes, was single and came from a Roman Catholic family. He lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Flora Avenue which is located in the northern end, near Arlington Bridge. Joseph has had medical issues prior the war. Multiple scars where noticeable on his body, one major scar was from a surgery due to an appendix failure. Joseph enlisted in the navy on the 22nd of July, 1942. He enrolled into the R.C.N.V.R or, Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. They built ships, transferred resources and also fought in the battles. The volunteer reserve is responsible for the success and massive size of the Canadian Navy. (Military Service Files)



The first ship Joseph served on was the HMCS Chippawa. It was created in the 1910's and the head recruitment center was on Smith Street. An old winter club was bought and the money sent towards war bonds to support the war effort. The building was then used as a naval recruitment center known as Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Chippawa. This alone gave Manitoba some use in the Atlantic war and the Chippawa was a proud name in Winnipeg. The ship was originally an American ship but was captured by British soldiers. The ship was 35-tonnes and crewed by fifteen sailors. Her weaponry consisted of two 8-inch howitzers and a nine pound mounted machine gun. Through the use of the HMCS Chippawa, Winnipeg made a huge contribution to the Atlantic war. (Naval-museum.mb.ca)

The CHIPPAWA Building, at 51 Navy Way, as it looked in 1998. The building was demolished in the fall of 1998 to make way for a new Naval Reserve training facility which has been built on the same site.
The CHIPPAWA Building, at 51 Navy Way, as it looked in 1998. The building was demolished in the fall of 1998 to make way for a new Naval Reserve training facility which has been built on the same site.


Joseph was transferred eleven times in total. He went from the Chippawa, to Naden, to R.C.N College, to Givenchy, back to Naden, to Givenchy III, back to the Naden, to Stadacona, to Niobe, to HMS Vernon, then onto the MTB 495 where he tragically died. (Military Service Records) The Ostend Harbor Blast was a tragic loss for Canada. Joseph was serving on the MTB 459 of the 29th flotilla. The flotilla was formed in March of 1944. Many ships have seen different places and battles; some include shooting enemy convoys, and gathering mines. Joseph’s ship was docked at Ostend. Many people where on the shore, visiting the city while others slept in their beds on board the ships. There had been an oil leak earlier; it was during the night so no one noticed the leaking oil. A soldier had a smoke and it ignited the oil. The men were trapped on the ships as the fire spread between them. There was no time to raise the alarm since the ammunition on board exploded in seconds. On February 14th, of 1945, five out of the eight original boats were destroyed. Seven British boats had been lost and twenty-eight Canadians died including Joseph's.

ostend1.jpg
459.jpg
The Ostend Harbor after the
(naval-museum.mb.ca)
mtb-memorial21.jpgtaken by Robert Lust (Veterans)
"CANADA REMEMBERS THE 29TH MTB FLOTILLA
FEBRUARY 14, 1945
ON THIS DATE AN ACCIDENTAL FIRE AND EXPLOSIONS DECIMATED THE
29TH CANADIAN MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT FLOTILLA WHILE DOCKED IN OOSTENDE,BELGIUM HARBOUR.
26 SAILORS OF THE R.C.N.V.R. WERE KILLED AND 5 BOATS DESTROYED.
IN HONOUR OF
BAHLEDA TEL, STEPHEN
BOND AB, NEIL
BROWN AB, WILFRED
BRUSH OT JOHN
BYRNE AB, JOHN
CATHCART AB, NORMAN
CRANG AB, WILLIAM
CROSS AB, ALBERT
DICK AB, BENSON

GAUTHIER AB, JOSEPH (Click for More Info)
HALE LT WILLIAM
HARPER, QT, MELVIN
HUNTER MM, IAN
KENNY AB, JAMES
LONG ST, CHARLES
LONG OS, GORDON
MACRAE LS, RALPH
MOTLEY AS, DAVID
NAYDO AB, MICHAEL
NEWBIGGING AB, WILLIAM
PARK AB, WILLIAM
PURDY ST1, GORDON
ROUTH MM., JOHN
WATT MM., JOHN
WELLINGTON MM., WILLIAM
WRIGHT AB, JAMES D.S.M.
MTBs Nos 459, 461, 462, 465, 466
WE CARE AND REMEMBER

R.C.N.A.
THEY SERVED WITH VALOUR" (Veterans)
The MTB 459
(naval-museum.mb.ca)






“The Senior Officer of the 29th - C.Anthony Law - wrote a book called White Plumes Astern. This is a quote from his book:
To end the story of the 29th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla, whose happy and thrilling moments and sad hours I have tried to recount, I should like to quote this simple poem, written from the heart by signalman Andrew Cleeland of Lieutenant C.A. Burk's Boat...
"The raging of the treacherous seas
Long the arch enemy of the M.T.B.'s,
Now ceases to hold us in its spell,
As we hear the tale of Ostend Hell,
The truth of cause will be remote,
and intrigue will lend its tragic note,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
As mothers and sweethearts shrink in sorrow,
but above it all is heard the cry,
Oh God, the everlasting question, WHY?"” (Naval-Museum.mb.ca)

Joseph was buried in Ostend, at the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery on the 16th of February. Joseph was buried in I.D.5 and is on the 517th page of the Book of Remembrance. He was 20 when he died and his father was still alive and lived in Winnipeg. During his time in the navy he received three medals; the Defense Medal, C.V.S.M (Awarded for and the Clasp War Medal. Joseph died serving in Canada’s Navy along with many more and without the Navy, Canada could not have helped as much as it did.(Military Service Files)


Defense Medal
Defense Medal

external image cvsm-m.gif
external image cvsm-m.gif

The Defense Medal,
Awarded for 6 Months Service
(Veterans)
The CVSM Medal,
For eighteen months of Service
(Blogspot)

Capture.PNG

Globe and Mail - Article about Explosion (War Museum)

Military Service Record

  • Age (at death): 20, 6 months
  • Force: Navy
  • Unit: RCNVR, H.M.C.S Chippawa
  • Service Number: V - 43226
  • Honours and Awards: Defense Medal, C.V.S.M, Clasp War Medal
  • Photograph: See Top
  • Next of Kin: Mr. Henry Gauthier, Father
  • Date of Death: Feburary 14th, 1945
  • Country of Burial: Belgium
  • Cemetery:ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

  • Grave Reference: I.D.5
  • Location: Ostend
  • Book of Remembrance: Page 517 (Veterans)

Grave Reference

  • Cemetery:ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

  • Grave Reference: I.D.5

external image img_1435_s.jpg
external image img_1435_s.jpg

The Front of Adegem Canadian War Cemetery.(Ancestry)

Additional information/links



Book of Remembrace

Approximate Address of Joseph's House

View Larger Map

Bibliography


Northern Memories. N.p., 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.northernmemories.co.uk/Canada/Canada.htm>.

Naval Museum. N.p., 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://naval-museum.mb.ca/winnipegs-navy/the-birth-of-hmcs-chippawa/>.

Naval Museum. N.p., 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://naval-museum.mb.ca/mtbs/29th-mtb-flotilla/mtb-459-crew-photo/>.

Naval Museum. N.p., 2004. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.naval-museum.mb.ca/mtb/page4.htm>.

BlogSpot. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://400sqn.blogspot.ca/2009/02/campaign-stars-and-medals-1939-1945.html>.

Ancestry. freepages, 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~noemeetjesland/meetjesland/acwc/index.htm>.

Veterans Affairs. N.p., 10 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/books/listing>.

War Museum. Globe and Mail, n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://collections.civilisations.ca/warclip/objects/common/webmedia.php?irn=5057741>.

Archival Reference


Military service files of Able Seaman Joseph Gauthier (V-43226) obtained from Library and Archives Canada.

Internet Sites


http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/virtualmem/Detail/2083024(15/05/12)
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~noemeetjesland/meetjesland/acwc/index.htm(15/05/12)
http://naval-museum.mb.ca/winnipegs-navy/the-birth-of-hmcs-chippawa/ (15/05/12)
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/(15/05/12)
http://400sqn.blogspot.ca/2009/02/campaign-stars-and-medals-1939-1945.html(15/02/12)
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/books/listing(15/02/12)
http://collections.civilisations.ca/warclip/objects/common/webmedia.php?irn=5057741(15/02/12)
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/memorials/othermem/mtb (18/05/2012)