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Training New Crew

Heroes Remember

We trained, I think I’d be safe to say hundreds of new ratings that hadn’t been at sea who went to learn something about seamanship, a little bit about gunnery and some of the things they needed to know when they were ready to go to sea. Most of the sailors, the trainees that I ran into were just like me, almost come out of the Saskatchewan Prairies and everything was new to them. And it was exciting and it was exciting to see them become such tars after all, you know. We’d meet one or two of them, say, you’d say, “I was on that ship. I was on that Sans Peur. I was trained on that ship.” And you’d remember him, you know, as a little guy that was scared and then now all of a sudden he’s wearing his hat a little crooked and they get used to it. I’ve had a lot of good guys on that ship and the Navy is a little different than the Army and the other places that you join. The Army you usually stay together in a battalion, you stay together but in the Navy you know, you’d get two or three guys drafted on the ship for a while. They’re there for a month and then they go away. I would think in the period that I was on that ship, 32 months at sea, I saw maybe a hundred, maybe more than that have come on and went off, and I never saw them again and you didn’t really have the comradeship that you have sometimes in the Army where you, you know, your fellows are all together and you always have a buddy in the trench with you, you know, the guy that you know.

Mr. Matheos describes the training of new recruits and the satisfaction of seeing them succeed. He discusses the fact that he didn't develop any lasting friendships because of the transience of the crew.

James Matheos

James Matheos was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on September 9, 1924. He was one of three children. His father, a Greek immigrant, was a restaurateur. Mr. Matheos joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942, with the intention of “seeing the world.” After training in Victoria, British Columbia he served aboard HMCS Sans Peur, a converted British Admiralty yacht, and spent the war in the dual role of patrolling for U-boats off Halifax, and training naval recruits.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Matheos
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of the Atlantic
415 Squadron
Ordinary Seaman
Deck Crew

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