In advance of the 2010 Canadian Naval Centennial I produced a collection of sketches requested by the Royal Canadian Navy as ideas that could be developed into final paintings. The intention was to illustrate, at least in part, the history of the RCN. Throughout the 100 year history the RCN has performed in many theatres in both war and peace and many fascinating stories spring to mind.
One such story is that of the “Three Musketeers”. 3 naval officers from well know Vancouver families, and members of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, who served with distinction in command of Motor Gun Boats during WWII in the Mediterranean. I had the privilege of meeting all three before their passing, Doug Maitland, Corny Burke and Tom Ladner. All three were awarded the “Distinguished Service Cross” and bars along with numerous “Mentioned in Dispatches”. Their daring exploits are the stuff that make the heart pound and fill one with gratitude for their devotion to duty.
German forces had to move men and materials from Sicily and other islands as the allies moved north. It was vital to success that control of the sea be held and enemy movements be thwarted. Attacking these convoys at night became the primary game plan.
With a convoy silhouetted against the moon the three MGB’s 667,658 and 663 creep out of the darkness to commence their attack against transport vessels protected by German E boats and deadly flack ships. And on every body’s lips “For what we are about to receive…………….”
Surprise and close teamwork brought them much success even though some damage would be expected and sadly injuries and death amongst the crew would be the high cost.