Friday, September 17, 2021

Photographs: From the Collection of Lloyd Evans (2)

 Lloyd Evans' Travels via RCNVR and Combined Ops

Ottawa, S. England, Scotland, N. Africa, Sicily and More

Able Bodied Seaman Ashley (A. K.) McDonald (above left) 
is featured in later photos. From Lloyd Evans' Photo File


Photographs taken and collected by Seaman Lloyd Evans (formerly of Ottawa and Markham ONT; now deceased) during World War II are a valuable asset as we attempt to learn more about the role and adventures of Canadians serving in Combined Operations. I have access to enough old black and whites - some seen here for the first time in Canada - to present 3 - 4 entries, accompanied by a few other related shots I have gathered over time.
Readers with related photographs are invited to contact me via the comment section or via email. I would be happy to add more photos and details to these posts:

Two of Lloyd's photos relate to training aboard landing crafts, likely off the southern coast of England, e.g., near Hayling Island (HMS Northney), or off the western coast of Scotland, e.g., at Irvine (RAF DundonaldCamp Auchengate) or Inveraray (HMS Quebec):

No names or details re location are provided but first sailor
on left could be Thibadeau, front row, first on right below

Photo taken at HMCS Stadacona,  Halifax, beside Wellington Barracks

During early training days, a story circulated about the trouble Thibadeau got himself into by mishandling a bottle of milk. Poor aiming ability? I hope he did better with the machine gun!

My father writes:

Training was very severe in Halifax. We were now known as Effingham Division under the good old White Ensign. Names for divisions were taken from old battleships of the Royal Navy. We went six weeks before being allowed to go ashore and that also was ruined by a seaman known only as Thibadeau. The division was really angry, Thibadeau dropped a pint of milk out of a window nearly hitting the Officer of the day making his evening rounds to see if everything was clean. Our leave was cancelled indefinitely.

We went to our Leading Seaman Instructor, L/Seaman Rose* (see next photo) but he said he couldn’t help us, but we probably wouldn’t be seen if we ourselves took a course of action. Into the cold showers went O/D Thibadeau, clothes and all, as if the barracks weren’t cold enough for him already. He was on good behaviour from then on and we soon got permission for a few hours leave every other night.

Page 6, "Dad, Well Done" 
Same landing craft, same day in my opinion, with steady hands on camera.
L - R: Chuck Rose (Chippawa), Admiral Dewey perhaps (above, front row)
and Lloyd Evans for certain. Type of gun? Keeping Luftwaffe at bay? 

We now see that Mr. Evans traded in his Lewis machine gun for a trumpet! Dates, names, locations are not provided:

Play on my friend. Play on.

I searched the photo below to see if Lloyd played in the brass section, but I had no luck. However, the photo comes by way of Seaman Don Westbrook's family and I know he was in the Effingham Division, the first group to volunteer for Combined Operations (He is in the front row, beside Admiral Dewey, in the large group photo above). Lloyd's division was the second draft from Canada to enter Combined Operations, and though their training schedule may have only been a month apart, I have found no large group photo with the two divisions together. That would be a historic find, for sure!

I cannot be sure but a few players in this band seem to be sailors
from the Effingham Division. Full photo in previous post.

That being said, by 'googling' "HMCS Stadacona bands" I located the next photo, and I think the first drummer on far left - under the band master's right elbow! - is Lloyd Evans. Apparently, he may have traded in those drums for a Lewis machine gun and later swapped that hot iron for brass!

Please click here to view Stadacona Bands RCN

Don Westbrook on his way out west to Combined Ops School, Jan. 1944
And that is another big story told on this site. Visit Comox, B.C.

Lloyd did not volunteer for service out west after his return to Canada in December, 1943, as did Don Westbrook (above), Chuck Rose, my father, and many more of their mates. Lloyd's memoirs reveal that he continued his service on the East Coast, e.g., at McNab's Island, and perhaps that is where the next two photos were taken:

Return to Canada

We sailed the following morning as one of the escorts for a large convey to St. Johns, Newfoundland. The journey itself was uneventful insofar as enemy action was concerned. However, one night when I was on lookout duty on the bridge, I spotted a merchant ship through a clearing in the fog. It was on a collision course with our ship! I called out urgently to the bridge Officer and we went full speed ahead. It was just a freak of the fog that I was able to see the ship when the stern lookouts could not and even more remarkable, since my duties did not include looking to the stern. I'll never know if I changed the lives of hundreds of people that night but I wouldn't like to replay the action to find out!

On another occasion, I stood lookout in the Crows Nest. This put me a lot closer to my maker, in more senses than one, than all the bombing raids I'd witnessed. I had not fully regained my strength since my time in hospital and was still very weak in the legs. I found the climb up the mast almost impossible to negotiate with all the heavy bulky clothes essential for the North Atlantic winter. My legs seemed to be paralysed and the whipping motion of the mast made it impossible for me to move up or down. For a moment, I considered whether to fall off when I was over the steel deck or over the water. Either way, there was only one possible outcome. Self preservation must have kicked in, because I finally made it to the top of the mast and into the relative safety of the Crows Nest. The view from up there was unbelievable. When the ship was at the top of a wave, I could see almost all the ninety or so ships in the convoy and the next minute I couldn’t see any. On another day, there was a submarine alert at the rear of the convoy and we were dispatched back at full speed but couldn’t find anything and we rejoined the convoy at our usual station.

A planned transfer at sea to a corvette that was proceeding to Halifax was abandoned, so we found ourselves at HMCS Avalon in St. Johns, where we stayed for a week. During this time, I was able to try the famous or infamous "Newfie screech" before catching HMT Lady Rodney for the overnight run to Halifax. I went on leave for a month at home in Ottawa and Detroit and then reported to HMCS Scotian, where I learned that our flotilla had already left for overseas duties. The authorities refused to allow us to rejoin them, even though it was our wish to do so. Our two convoys had probably crossed paths as we journeyed to Canada. It was January 1944.

I heard they were looking for people to work in the Harbour Craft Office. I applied and was accepted as crew on one of the many harbour craft. One day I was informed that our craft was going to Shelbourne for the summer. The prospect of working for the particular officer in charge didn't appeal to me, so I applied for a Coxswain's course at the Leadership School in the dockyard and was accepted. At the end of the course I was given the craft stationed at McNab's Island at the entrance to Halifax harbour. My job was to ferry supplies and personnel between McNab's Island and the dockyard. It was 24 hours on and 24 hours off as there were 2 crews.

One can read more of Lloyd's memoirs at the following link - Combined Operations Command by Geoff Slee, Scotland

Lloyd, first on left. The names of the CWACs and other sailor are
unfortunately not given. I would say "it's likely 1944." GH

My father's only photo w a CWAC is below. Wouldn't it be something if the CWAC w Dad was also one to greet Lloyd when he arrived back in Canada:

From collection of Doug Harrison, RCNVR, Comb. Ops 1941 - 45

Lloyd photographed a news article that was first published in The (Ottawa) Evening Citizen:

Details re this article are explored in an earlier, lengthy post on this site

As in the first entry in this series, I share a photo or two from Lloyd's visit of the Edinburgh castle (1942 or '43). And since I also have visited the castle (2014), I again share one or two that match up with Lloyd's, and will say here, "Some things change, some things stay the same!":

Admiral Dewey once again? I am not certain. And I am only 
guessing that the location is Edinburgh at this time.

The statue and stone base are the same, though - based on the
background buildings - the statue's location has changed

Colour photos - GH

Happy hunting for details re any change in location of Earl Haig

The phots follow re warships and fellas on board:

Card game on the go?

More Canadians in Combined Ops with a card game on the go.
Bill Eccles has got a pretty good hand! Pre-Normandy, 1944
From the collection of Bill's son, Reg Eccles, N. S.

Lloyd may have been friends with AB Seaman Ashley MacDonald, as well as first cousins, as both came from Ottawa at the time of enlistment. He had these six photos of Ashley, a young man who was declared missing "after the torpedoing  of the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan."

Sailor on the left is unidentified.

A. K. MacDonald is remembered at The Canadian Virtual War Memorial

More photographs from the L. Evan's collection to soon follow.

Questions and comments can be addressed to Editor at

Please link to Photographs: From Collection of Lloyd Evans (1) to view the first post related to this collection of WWII photographs.

Unattributed Photos GH

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