Friday, April 22, 2011

Dad & the HMS Louvain Sinking

My father joined the Royal Navy on October 1, 1914.
His ship, the HMS Louvain was torpedoed on January 21, 1918 by the German Submarine UC 22.
The following is an excerpt from an article written about the sinking.
“At 7:40pm German time on January 20, 1918, UC 22 spotted a steamer with an escorting destroyer. UC 22's commanding officer, Oblt.z.S Carl Scherb

decided to maneuver to lay a minefield across the formation's path and then proceed with a bow torpedo attack. The first mine is laid at 8:00pm, the last at 8:10pm.
UC 22 immediately thereafter begins her torpedo attack and soon fires a single torpedo at 600 meter range. The torpedo hits the steamer (Louvain); UC 22 is rather near the escort and is soon being depth charged. UC 22 finally surfaces about an hour after the attack and sees the destroyer at the attack site but the steamer is gone. The minefield prevents the U-boat from getting back to the attack site.
Conditions were sea state 2 with clear skys and very good visability. Given the conditions and the presence of an escorting vessel, I would presume Louvain must have gone down very quickly for there to be such a heavy loss of life. (Bendert lists 224 dead).”

The picture shows Dad in his navy uniform, but was taken in a studio in Scotland.

For more on this story, read AN INTERESTING LIFE in “Other Stuff” shown on the left side of this page near the top.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



Until we had this personal encounter I had only ever had brief glimpses of a “butcher bird”!
I suppose I had images in my mind created by it’s nickname that this bird was a nasty piece of work indeed.
I was wrong. They are beautiful, and only obeying the laws of nature when they follow their practice of skewering prey on thorns or barbed wire.
In this encounter, the shrike had hit one of our windows but thankfully it was a glancing blow – not a direct head on collision. As a result it was temporarily stunned, and when I carefully approached, it looked at me but allowed me to pick it up and hold it.
I think it liked the warmth of my hand because it did not want to leave. I finally managed to gently transfer it to the deck rail where it sat for a few moments before finally flying off to a nearby tree.
I was thankful it was not seriously injured and grateful for the opportunity to get these (and many other) pictures.
A magnficent creature indeed!
 (click or double click for enlargement of pictures)

Monday, April 18, 2011


Bluebirds plus mealworms = good pictures!
It is always a delight to listen to the spring birdsong filling the air after a long cold winter. We are particularly happy to see our Eastern Bluebirds back for another season of nesting in the box near our home.

The pictures are from 2 summers ago. I had a difficult time getting good pictures of the female, but did manage to capture one with the male feeding her (although it is a bit blurry and not included), and the one shown below.

There was no problem however in getting good pictures of the male, and the four chicks.

The worms you see are small mealworms. The male carried worms to the box all the time the chicks were in the nest. After they left the nest, the female disappeared, and it seems the job of babysitting the chicks fell to the male. For a time he took worms to the chicks, but eventually he brought them to the feeder. By that time they were used to me, and I was able to get closeup pictures.

The previous season I took pictures inside the nest from day one until they took wing.

I have been amazed that among our aquaintances so few have ever seen a bluebird. I hope you enjoy the pictures of these beautiful little creatures.

(click or double click for larger pictures)
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Harmony United Church Part 3

Memories to cherish

Except for a few minor details, the closing of Harmony United Church and the amalgamation of the congregation into Faith United church is completed.

Harmony has had a wide sphere of influence, and that continues. Out of our congregation came at least 3 candidates for ministry, all serving in various church charges today.

Children that attended Sunday school there, and Boy and Girl scouts will always carry memories of Harmony with them wherever they go.

From the proceeds of the sale of the property, some funds went to charities that Harmony had sponsored for years, some went to Faith United, and a portion was put into a foundation created in order to provide assistance to the deserving needy in years to come.

The legacy of the founding families will not die!

I had the privilege to symbolically hand over the keys to the people of Lifepoint Church – the organization that bought the property – on the occasion of their first service there. I was impressed with their enthusiasm and dedication, and their welcome to me was warm and heartfelt.

I also had the opportunity to present some of our hymn books, Voices United, to St. Marks United Church in Whitby. St. Marks was our church home when Beth and I lived in Whitby, and their new minister, Rev. Deb Foster, came to them from Zion United Church – a church that, like Harmony, was forced to close it’s doors this year.

At a recent funeral for a long time member of Harmony, many or most of the Harmony congregation attended, and it was like family getting together again. I don’t suppose that feeling will end any time soon.

There are lots of wonderful memories, far to many to try to document.

I will simply end with this one – at our final service on January 9, 2011, the children went to the front to join our minister Rev. Bob LePage. Attending that day was his son and daughter in law and their young daughter Clara.

When Clara saw “Papa” sitting on the steps of the altar she went and sat beside him. The sun was streaming through the stained glass and as they looked at each other the picture below was taken. (Note - Grandma Jan can be seen at the far right in the first row of the choir)

I think it is a wonderful image to keep in our hearts.
(click or double click for larger picture)