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We did rescue the entire crew ( Part 1 of 2)

Heroes Remember

We did rescue the entire crew ( Part 1 of 2)

We were involved in a, in a fairly major rescue when I was captain of Iroquois, and a hurricane one year to the day after the Ocean Ranger disaster, the same scenario. We had been, we were on a fisheries patrol. We had been out for a week. We had gone into St. John's and, for a variety of reasons, about 60-70% of my crew were Newfoundlanders, so there was kind of a special connection to the nose and the tail of the Grand Banks. And when we had been out the first week we had, we had bad weather and a number of the sailors, including the chief ERA, thought it would be a good idea to have a memorial service when we came back out. So, we got a wreath when we were in St. John's, and on the Saturday that we were alongside, it was just . . . and, and we sailed. It was just a beautiful, calm, sunny day, and by Sunday, when we were doing the, the service, we were into a major storm, which actually turned into a hurricane. And late that day, we got a distress call from a, from what turned out to be a Panamanian freighter that, whose cargo had shifted. Turned out it had a Korean crew, and they were about to abandon ship. In any case, we were about 300 kilometres, 300 nautical miles away, and it was very difficult to, to join them, but we went as, as, as fast as we could. Did a bit of damage, but it was amazing because it was an Aurora aircraft that was, was transmitting translations of what the captain of the ship, the homing . . . that we were proceeding to try to rescue the crew of. There was another ship that was somewhere down around Bermuda, who could speak the language, and this Aurora was translating, and they stayed on task beyond their fuel endurance, and for an alternate, and ultimately refuelled in St. John's, but played a key role in maintaining the communication while we were, while we were getting there. But in a situation like that, your ship's company, the air crew, it really does gel and, and we did manage. We got there. Spent the, the night alongside, convinced the other captain that we were there, and that it wasn't essential to abandon ship at that time. If they had of abandoned ship at that stage of the game, I'm not sure that we could've rescued anybody. But we . . . they ended up abandoning at, at five in the morning, and we launched our Zodiacs and, small rubber Zodiacs, and helicopters concurrently. The helicopter was launching outside limits, but the crew had volunteer . . . they actually launched outside limits the night before, as well, but just couldn't see a horizon with the mass and, and everything. And it would've been, would've been just too risky. In the end, we did rescue the entire, the entire crew, and it was amazing. It was a case of . . . in fact, one of the air crew had been lowered to the deck of the ship, while we had the Zodiacs picking people out of the water. And the observer, our observer that was on the deck of the ship, saw some people in the water that the Zodiacs never would have seen, just 'cause of the waves were still pretty huge. And, and got them out, and they were just suffering from hypothermia, but it was a classic case. We did a fair amount of damage to, not, not serious, but damage to the ship, so we had to go into St. John's and have, have repairs done. And that was a fairly magic, magical time for the whole ship's company. Everybody was over-the-moon because we had managed to rescue all 21, and in circumstances that were, were pretty difficult.

Mr. Murray describes a very dangerous sea rescue during a hurricane.

Lawrence Edward Murray

Mr. Murray was born in Stratford, Ontario, on June 6, 1947. Strongly influenced by family and friends who had joined the Navy, he entered officer training at HMCS Carleton base in Ottawa. Following that, he began his progression through the rank echelon, starting on the west coast aboard the HMCS Fraser as the Navigation Officer. Once on the east coast, he joined the crew of HMCS Algonquin as her Combat Officer, then became Executive Officer or Second in Command aboard HMCS Athabascan. Mr. Murray then moved to HMCS Iroquois as her Commanding Officer. He then rose to the position of Squadron Commander, 1st Canadian Destroyer Squadron. During his service, the Canadian Navy was actively involved in both NATO / Cold War ( primarily surveillance of Soviet submarines ) and Fisheries Patrol activities. He also led a rescue mission off the Grand Banks, saving the entire crew of a disabled merchant ship during a hurricane. After leaving the Navy, Mr. Murray pursued a career in the Canadian Public service, and is currently the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Lawrence Edward Murray
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
North Atlantic Ocean
NATO and Fisheries Patrol
HMCS Iroquois
Squadron Commander
2nd Vice Admiral

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