For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
BREWSTER, Bernard Edward (Bun / Bunny) - Bun Brewster, RCNVR, from Woodstock, Ontario, served in HMCS Drumheller (November 1941 - February 1943) and HMCS Skeena (February 1943 - December 1944). While on HMCS Drumheller he took part in the Newfie - Derry run as a convoy escort ship. While on HMCS Skeena he was again on the Newfie - Derry run as a convoy escort until April, 1944, when HMCS Skeena took part in Operation Neptune and the newly formed Escort Group 12, a group of anti-submarine destroyers tasked with preventing submarines from attacking ships plying to and from the Normandy beaches. Near the end of June 1944, HMCS Skeena and two other RCN destroyers were formed into a group and were tasked with patrolling the zone between Brest and Ushant Island as part of Operation Dredger. After a fierce ship-to-ship battle, they sank three large German flack ships. During his time on both ships, he was bombed, torpedoed, shot at by German ships and shore batteries. Bun Brewster survived the grounding of HMCS Skeena off Videy Island, Iceland. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (D.S.M.). He left an inscription on a copy of Skeena Aground by Isaac Unger … "I was very lucky. Some were not." After his return to Canada after surviving the grounding of HMCS Skeena in Iceland October 24, 1944, he never went to sea again.
D.S.M. Citation: BREWSTER, Bernard Edward, Leading Seaman, V17355, Distinguished Service Medal (DSM), RCNVR -Awarded as per London Gazette of 1 January 1945 - "For gallantry or outstanding service in the face of the enemy or for zeal, patience and cheerfulness in dangerous waters and for setting an example of wholehearted devotion to duty, upholding the high traditions of the Royal Canadian Navy." New Years List (Admiralty) A.F.O. 239/45.
Two newspaper articles on LS Bunny Brewster receiving the D.S.M.
Ships served in:
HMCS DRUMHELLER - Served in Drumheller Nov 1941 - Feb 1943
HMCS SKEENA - Drafted to Skeena Feb 1943. LS Brewster survived the grounding / wreck of HMCS Skeena on 24 Oct 1944
(BB01) Portrait taken while Bernard was serving in HMCS Drumheller (BB02) Photo taken while Bernard was serving in HMCS Skeena
(BB03) Bernard Brewster with his sister Barb (BB04) Friday July 25, 1941 Bunny and Tommy - The morning we left for London to go on to Halifax Saturday night. (BB05) Good Luck! … (signed) E. J. Eckel - Bun Brewster is front left, Ralph Moxley is front right, Tommy Dent is back left and Bud Todd is back right. (BB06) - no caption
Monday July 28, 1941- on route to Halifax after departing London Saturday night on July 26, 1941
(BB07) Gus Halely (BB08) Curly McClennan (BB09) Jack Pope (BB10) no caption (BB11) back, l-r: unknown, Illbury, Gee - front Doug Crandon (BB12) at Moncton, NB
(BB13) unknown and Tom Dent (right) at Moncton, NB (BB14) Searle, West, Neving - in front Henderson at Moncton, NB. Note - of the 4 in back its not known which is Searle, West or Neving
Point Pleasant Park
(BB16) The Halifax Memorial at Point Pleasant Park
Note: The Halifax Memorial was erected at Point Pleasant Park in 1924 commemorating those who died in WW1 and have no known grave. In 1956 it was moved to the southern slope of Citadel Hill, with separate, detached panels added for the names of those lost in the Second World War. Over time it deteriorated to such an extent that it was deemed unworthy of its purpose; it was dismantled in 1966 and the eroded stone was consigned to Bedford Basin as the “Last Post” was sounded. In 1967 a new monument was unveiled at Point Pleasant Park.
Work detail - Nova Scotia - location unknown
Nova Scotia - unknown location
(BB31) Postcard - Parade Square, HMC Dockyard, Halifax (BB32) Postcard - Mike - Mascot for HMCS Stadacona (BB33) Unknown sailors - possibly at Point Pleasant Park, Halifax (BB34) "How do you like it?" Unknown Sailor - Sydney, Nova Scotia, June 1, 1941. Photo taken by Ed Nadaline at their Barracks (BB35) Bunny in the RCN Hospital, Halifax - "I believe he had the flu"
(BB36) King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (BB37) Winter forest scene - unknown location (BB38) Church overlooking the harbour at Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland (BB34) 2nd day on the train. Bun is not in uniform, so perhaps on leave
The photos below are of LS Brewster's time onboard HMCS DRUMHELLER K167
Photos are not necessarily in date sequence but were scanned in the order they were in the photo album
(BB39) Cook in DRUMHELLER's galley holding turkey and 3 beer. (webmaster's comment: I wonder if its Christmas?) (BB40) Bunny in seaman's mess on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB41) Bunny on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB42) DRUMHELLER's tally plate (BB43) Bunny with shipmates on HMCS DRUMHELLER's gun deck. Bunny first on left. Photo developed May 1942 (BB44) Unidentified sailor in the bandstand (after gun tub) on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB45) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER by Engineroom sky lights.
(BB46) Looking aft on HMCS DRUMHELLER - another corvette off in distance (BB47) Unknown corvette - seen from HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB48) Unidentified sailor in HMCS DRUMHELLER's bandstand. (BB49) HMCS DRUMHELLER's White Ensign (BB50) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB51) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER's gun deck (BB52) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB53) Torpedo damaged merchant ship (BB54) Sea boat approaching HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB55) Unidentified sailors cleaning the gun on HMCS DRUMHELLER. Photo developed May 1942 (BB56) Sea boat being raised (or lowered) on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB57) Torpedo damaged merchant ship at St. John's, NFLD (BB58) Merchant ship in harbour at St. John's, NFLD (BB59) HMCS BITTERSWEET K182 (outboard ship) at St. John's, NFLD
(BB60-BB66) HMCS DRUMHELLER exercising with Dutch submarine HNLMS N15
(BB67) HMCS PRINCE HENRY at St. John's, NFLD (BB68) HMS/m N27 outboard of HMCS ST LAURENT H83 at St. John's, NFLD (BB69) HMCS AVALON II - accommodation ship for HMCS AVALON (BB70-BB71) Unknown destroyer alongside two merchant ships in St. John's. (BB72) Corvette at St. John's, NFLD - possibly HMCS CHAMBLY K116 (BB73) Merchant ship at anchor in St. John's Harbour. Cabot Tower in the background.
(BB74) Unknown merchant ship with tug alongside (BB75) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER - Stbd side looking aft (BB76) Unidentified sailor by the funnel of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB77) Unidentified officer and 2 petty officers on deck by HMCS DRUMHELLER's sea boat (BB78) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER just forward of the bandstand (BB79) Unidentified sailors taking a break just aft of the funnel on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB80) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB81) "Some of the boys" "Don't lose this one."
"Doug Sherren - Charlottetown, PEI; Curly Wilks - London, Ont; Jim Brown -London, Ont; "Perky" Perkins - Victoria, BC; "Jim" Watson- Montreal ,QC; and me (Bunny Brewster)" (Photo developed Aug 1942)
(BB82) Looking aft from HMCS DRUMHELLER. Unknown corvette following astern (BB83) Unidentified officers and ratings on HMCS DRUMHELLER (Webmaster's comment - I don't know what's going on but there are a lot of smiling faces looking at the sailor in the right foreground of the photo) (BB84) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER's bandstand (BB85) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER taking a break (BB86-BB87) Pistol target practice on HMCS DRUMHELLER at sea (BB88) Unidentified sailor in HMCS DRUMHELLER's bandstand.
(BB89) Unidentified officer on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB90) Unidentified sailors just after the mast on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB91) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB92) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER's gun deck. Note one of the versions of her gunshield art (BB93) Unidentified sailor standing in hatch on quarterdeck of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB94) Unidentified sailors by funnel and on boat deck of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB95) unknown shoreline. On back of photos "From HMC Ship. Passed by censor"
(BB95-BB96) HMCS DRUMHELLER iced up (BB97) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB98) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB99) Unidentified sailor on the quarterdeck of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB100) Unidentified sailor on the quarterdeck of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB101) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER's gun
(BB102) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB103) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB104) Unknown vessels (Webmaster's note: - The closest vessel appears to be an armed yacht; the further, possibly a Battle class trawler (BB105) Unknown Wickes-class destroyer - possibly one of the lend-lease that was transferred to the RCN and became a Town Class (BB106) Royal Navy County Class heavy cruiser (BB107) Battlecruiser HMS RENOWN (BB107) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER
Webmaster's note: BB105-BB107 believed to be taken at Hvalfjörður, Iceland
(BB109) HMCS DRUMHELLER iced up
(BB110) HMCS DRUMHELLER's carley floats and boat falls ice cover (BB111) Four sailors with this ice chipping equipment crossed on HMCS DRUMHELLER (Webmaster's comment: The four musketeers?) (BB112) Unidentified sailor underneath the ice-up bridge wing of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB113) Bunny on an iced covered HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB114) Unidentified sailor by the ice covered depth charges on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB115) HMCS DRUMHELLER port side looking aft - rough seas and ice covered (BB116) Unidentified sailor sitting on HMCS DRUMHELLER's ice covered gun
(BB117) Bunny Brewster breaking ice off the DRUMHELLER with a fire axe (BB118) Bunny Brewster on HMCS DRUMHELLER's iced covered gun deck (BB119) Unidentified sailor by the ice covered depth charges on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB120) Unidentified sailor shoveling ice and snow off of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB121) Castle along the River Foyle, Northern Ireland (BB122) Unknown WW1 four-stacker. Possibly one of the RCN's lend-lease Town Class (BB123) Unknown vessel
(BB124) Bunny Brewster sitting in HMCS DRUMHELLER's sea boat (BB125) Unidentified sailor sitting in HMCS DRUMHELLER's sea boat (BB126) Fairmile Motor launch. Note that her pendant number has been obscured. (BB127) HMCS DRUMHELLER steaming towards unknown coast (and likely a port) (BB128) HMCS DRUMHELLER K167 (BB129) Two unknown corvettes at anchor (BB130) Bunny Brewster on HMCS DRUMHELLER
Escort Group puts to sea
(BB131) HMCS DRUMHELLER following EG SO (BB132-BB134) HMCS DRUMHELLER shipping seas. Note her gunshield art (BB135-BB137) Other corvettes of EG following astern of HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB138) Unidentified sailors by the .5s on the bridge wing of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB139) Sailors manning HMCS DRUMHELLER's pompom (BB140) Unknown merchant ship (BB141) HMCS DRUMHELLER's sea boat turned out and ready for use (BB142-BB143) HMCS DRUMHELLER alongside unknown ship (pendant number ?132) (BB144) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER's bandstand
(BB145-BB146) Unknown ships in distance - possibly corvettes (BB147) HMCS DRUMHELLER catching a wave broadside (BB148-BB151) Merchant ships in Convoy
(BB152) HMCS DRUMHELLER's twin .5s and pompom as seen from the sea boat (BB153) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER's gun deck (BB154) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER's pompom (BB155) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER's twin .5s (BB156) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER's twin .5s (BB157) Unidentified aircraft flies past HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB158) Unknown corvette
(BB159) Unknown destroyer - possibly an Admiralty V or W class (BB160) Unknown merchant vessel (BB161) Merchant vessels in convoy (BB162) Unknown merchant vessel (BB163) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB164) Sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER relaxing on the upper decks (BB165 - HMCS DRUMHELLER'S gunsheild art.
(BB164) Sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER sitting between the depth charge rails (BB164-BB168) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB169) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER. (Webmaster's comment - he is looking a little rough around the edges)
(BB170) Unidentified officer going ashore from HMCS DRUMHELLER - possibly the CO (BB171-BB172) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB173-BB175) Ratings mustered on Quarterdeck of HMCS DRUMHELLER at sea (BB176) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER hamming it up for the camera
(BB177) Bunny Brewster (left) and 2 unidentified shipmates on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB178-BB180) Gas mask training / drill on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB181) Unidentified sailor with ammo box on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB182) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER holding young boy who is dress in a seaman's uniform. Young boy is saluting the photographer by the looks of it (BB183) Sailors enjoying the weather and relaxing on the boat deck of HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB184) Sailors enjoying the weather and relaxing on the boat deck of HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB185) Dhobey (Laundry) day for a few sailors (BB186) Unidentified sailor playing pirate on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB187) Bunny Brewster (left), Ralph Moxley (right) and 2 unidentified friends (middle) standing on the gun deck of HMCS BRANDON - The Brandon Bull is seen on the gunshield (BB188) Unidentified sailor by HMCS DRUMHELLER's gunshield art (BB189) Ralph Moxley (front, centre) on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB190) Unidentified sailor with ammo belts on HMCS DRUMHELLER's bandstand
(BB191) Unidentified sailor at the wheel on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB192) Unidentified sailor on HMCS DRUMHELLER playing quick draw with service revolver (BB193) Bunny Brewster on HMCS DRUMHELLER in his "work" clothes (BB194) HMCS DRUMHELLER work party painting ship - Bunny Brewster 2nd from on left (BB195) HMCS DRUMHELLER work party taking a break from painting ship (BB196) Bunny Brewster (left) and unidentified shipmate on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB197) Unidentified sailors on the gun deck of HMCS DRUMHELLER
BB198 - BB204 - Transiting the River Foyle to Londonderry
(BB198) webmaster's comment - possibly bringing the pilot aboard to the transit of the River Foyle (BB202) Unidentified sailor on the Quarterdeck of HMCS Drumheller with River Foyle's shoreline in background (BB204) HMS/m N34 (formerly H34) alongside pier 77 (webmaster's note: believed to be in Londonderry or Lisahalley)
Transiting the River Foyle to Londonderry
(BB205) Sunken merchant vessel in the River Foyle (BB206) Unknown allied warship (BB207) HMS Wellington U65 (BB208) Unknown allied warship (BB210-BB211) HMCS PICTOU K146, Londonderry
(BB212) Three corvettes nested - location unknown (possibly Londonderry). HMCS DRUMHELLER centre corvette (BB213) Unidentified sailors on small harbour craft. Sailor sitting is wearing a diver's suit (BB214) L-R: Unidentified sailor, Bunny Brewster and Ralph Moxley on the gun deck of HMCS BRANDON
Photos taken ashore - location unknown
(BB216) Bunny Brewster (left) (BB220) Bunny Brewster (right)
Photos taken ashore - location unknown
(BB225-BB226) Bunny Brewster (left) (BB227) Bunny Brewster (right)
(BB228) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB229) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB230) Unidentified officers on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB231-BB232) Unknown ship's company at divisions on the jetty (pier 82 - location unknown) (BB233) Unidentified officer being greeted on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB234) Unidentified sailors on HMCS DRUMHELLER - Stbd side looking aft
(BB235) HMCS DRUMHELLER's crew
(BB236) Convoy escorts making smoke (BB237-BB240) HMCS DRUMHELLER making smote
(BB241-BB254) HMC NAVAL CAMP near St. John's, NFLD
This was a rest camp to give sailors a break from shipboard routine
(BB246) Bunny Brewster (right) (BB250) Bunny Brewster on right with hand behind his back (BB251) Time for a beer. Bunny Brewster 2nd from right (BB252) Bunny Brewster (standing) 2nd from left (BB254) Bunny Brewster front, centre, with black jacket
(BB255-BB261) Rescue of the crew of the SS CAPIRA by HMCS DRUMHELLER. SS CAPRIA, part of convoy SC.97, was torpedoed by U-609 on 31 Aug 1942 with a loss of 4 crew. 33 survivors were picked up by the rescue ship SS PERTH and 16 by HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB260-BB261) Survivors from SS CAPIRA onboard HMCS DRUMHELLER
(BB262) HMCS DRUMHELLER's sea boat going to / returning from torpedoed merchant vessel. Note that the ship's bow has been destroyed. This is possibly MS BRONXVILLE which was torpedoed by U-609 on 31 Aug 1942, just before SS CAPIRA was torpedoed. (BB263) Dhoby day at sea. Bunny Brewster hanging up his laundry on the upper decks of HMCS DRUMHELLER to dry (BB264) Bunny Brewster on HMCS DRUMHELLER (BB265) Bunny Brewster in Halifax "Taken this winter in Halifax" (BB266) Bunny Brewster (rear) and Hauk (?sp) in Halifax. "Taken in Halifax"
The photos below are from LS Brewster's time onboard HMCS SKEENA I59
Photos are not necessarily in date sequence but were scanned in the order they were in the photo album
(BB267-BB268) HMCS SKEENA I59
(BB267) Late 1943 when Skeena was part of C-3 Escort Group - also known as the Barber Pole Brigade
(BB269-BB272) Christmas Dec 1943 on HMCS SKEENA
(BB269) the LCdr in the photo is the youngest man on ship and therefore the CO for the day. Standing, first on the right, is LCdr Patrick Francis Xavier Russell, RCN, the commanding officer, who is wearing the uniform of a Chief Petty Officer.
Note: From Cdr Peter Chance, RCN, ret'd, who was the Navigating Officer on HMCS SKEENA in 1943-1944, these photos are of the ship's Christmas celebration in Dec 1943 and he believes the ship was in Londonderry at the time. "We were a happy ship as you can see."
(BB274-BB277) Royal Navy Battleship HMS RODNEY (BB278) Unidentified sailors on HMCS SKEENA (BB279) Bunny Brewster (left) and shipmate on HMCS SKEENA [July 1944 From HMC Ship Examined by D8.N559] (BB280) Unknown destroyer
(BB281) Unidentified sailors on HMCS SKEENA (BB282) Unidentified sailors in Mess Deck on HMCS SKEENA (BB283) Bunny Brewster on duty as Quartermaster on HMCS SKEENA. Background indicates the ship is at St. John's, Newfoundland
(BB284) Bunny Brewster on a training ... on leave? (BB285) Bunny Brewster and Rosslyn Wallace - photo taken right around the time they were married (BB286)
(BB286-BB289) Remembrance Day in Woodstock, ON - 1965 (photos developed Oct 1966)
(BB287) Bunny Brewster (front, 3rd from right) (BB288) Bunny Brewster (left) (BB289) Bunny Brewster (2nd from right)
Courtesy of Gord Brewster