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Trivia | Bagatelle

Who am I

* I attended University of Toronto 1929-30, followed by studies at
Royal Military College.

* I was accepted as an officer in training in late 1939

* I received my commission as a Lieutenant, Royal Canadian Naval
Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR), in July 1940, an impressive document signed
by the Governor General the Earl of Athlone, and awaited “disposal.

* During the thirteen week basic officer training course in HMCS
Stadacona, Halifax, late 1940, the chief gunner’s mate terrorized the
class, who naturally addressed him as “Sir.” This called forth a bellow:
“Don’t call me ‘Sir’-Chief.”

* My RMC training came to my rescue: I knew that the chief
gunner’s mate was supposed to call us “Sir.” And he did; when one of us
was a bit slow around the gun, he would come up close to the offender’s
ear and ferociously growl into it, “Will you pull the lead out of your
hindquarters ? (pause) ? Sir?”

* I became first lieutenant of HMCS Pictou, one of the new
corvettes built in Canada, manned by Canadians and named after Canadian
cities and towns.

* I took off nearly twenty pounds in my first couple of voyages.
This was partly attributable to the diet and the execrable cooking. Our
cook was a blacksmith in civilian life!

* I was examined for my watchkeeping certificate by my friend and
RMC classmate, 2184 Lt. Desmond (Debby) Piers, (RMC 1930), who was later
promoted to Rear-Admiral.

* Cmdre. Leonard Warren Murray, a distinguished RCN officer who
was shortly after promoted to Rear Admiral, explained the difficulties
in finding suitable commanding officers. At this, on a wild impulse, I
looked him in the eye and said, “Sir, let me take her.” He swung around
in his chair and looked out over the harbour for what seemed like
minutes; then swung back and said, even more gently, but with great
emphasis, “By jove, I will.” Then quickly added: “I’m taking a big
chance on you and you must not let me down.” I could only answer, “Sir,
I will do my best.” We shook hands and I left.

* I published my autobiography entitled “Footfalls in Memory”
privately in 1998 which outlined my wartime service in the RCNVR.
A) 2243 Commander Robert Powell (RMC 1931);
B) 2158 Commander Anthony Griffin (RMC 1930);
C) 2321 Commander Dennis Forster (RMC 1933); or
D) 2195 Commander Henry Ross (RMC 1930)


Answer: 2158 Commander (Ret`d) Anthony GS Griffin (RMC 1930-31) a member of Naval Officers Association of Canada Toronto Branch, published his autobiography entitled “Footfalls in Memory” privately in 1998. This excerpt dealing with his wartime service in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) was originally published in Vol VII, No. 6, Sping 1999 Issue of Starshell.

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