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More letters home from the war

In honour of Remembrance Day, we’ve been learning about letters home to Timmins from the front… for our local history feature.  Last week, the First World War.  This week, the Second.

Timmins Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann begins with Reg Woods, a member of the merchant marines whose 1943 letter was printed in the Porcupine Advance newspaper.

He tells of the dangers and close calls of escorting TNT ships.

“There are times at sea when you can hear submarines scraping along the sides or bottom of your boat. They travel directly below you for days at a time, When Corvettes let go with their depth charges, we me of the engine room crew catch the echo of their explosions.”

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He goes on to describe it as a crackle, like beating a piece of metal with a small hammer.

We wrap up with a letter from Lieutenant Jack Lake. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Lake, owners of the Porcupine Advance. In 1942, he wrote to his parents about the landing on Juno Beach.

“Our ship hit a mine a short distance off shore and almost sunk. But fortunately, I was able to get my jeep into the water and get ashore complete, although a bit delayed. We have been bombed, mortared, shelled and sniped at, but my luck is in order and I’m in the best of health.”

Below is audio of Bachmann reading both letters.



Porcupine Squadron Bomber and crew, named for the Porcupine because of really good victory bond sales. (Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre)
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