76 Radio Unit - St. Paul Island, NS

1944 - Daily Diary - National Archives of Canada

October 5, 1944 to December 2, 1944

5 Oct 44

Boarded RCAF vessel Beaver at North Sydney at 0900 hours, with 21 personnel for 76 RU, and F/L Ward and LAC Morossi, Wireless Installation party. Arrived here approximately 1630 hours. Weather fine - good trip. Came ashore by motor launch with R mail. Ate with 8 CMU - after supper 18 barrels of oil and men's personal baggage brought ashore. Temporary accommodation made in tent and power house. Ward and self quartered in unused half of D of T dwelling. Barracks finished but water not yet in and stoves, barracks stores, etc., still on Beaver. Landing conditions excellent but Beaver ceased landing cargo at 2130. Among personnel to disembark - "Paulette", Terrier "A" Group, LAW.

6 Oct 44

Weather not good. Sea running quite heavy although still possible to land. Beaver left 1500 hours to seek shelter around island. No cargo discharged. Unable to contact Beaver by radio. Wind and rain in evening and night. I have fever of 102, retired early. During morning I made survey of camp with Cpl Boot (8 CMU). Radar building small but adequate, foundation not pointing true North. Unable to determine how far it is out. 220 Volt service not quite finished. Barracks and mess hall well finished but no storage space or shelving, cupboards, etc, in Ops Building, Diesel house, Barracks. Suggested 8 CMU go ahead with such things, also room in diesel house and toilet in Ops. Building. Road is in poor shape due to inadequate drainage. Mud feet deep around dock and 8 CMU mess and stores. Water supply system does not look as though it would stand cold weather as all pipes above ground. Cpl. Booth says there is no danger of freezing if pump kept running. Water clear and fresh. Chlorinator hardly necessary.

7 Oct 44

Still heavy sea running and no Beaver. Men transported their heavy baggage to barracks to keep it dry as tent leaks. Personnel, although inconvenienced by inadequate shelter, in good spirits. Fed well by 8 CMU. I am now confined to bed by Cpl Degaust with high fever. Degaust, Hospital Assistant who will stay with us till withdrawal - good man - enthusiastic, fully acquainted with his trade. Met personnel of Gov't Radio Station - O i/c Bill Sutherland, Mr and Mrs Carl Scott, Mr and Mrs Gettys, Mr Smith. Very co-operative. Mrs Scott invited me to stay in their spare room which is helpful, as the other side of house not heated.

8 Oct 44

East wind - heavy sea. Beaver sighted heading towards mainland. Unsuccessful attempt to contact her by radio. Sgt Geldhart and party of men waxed floors in barracks and mess. Signalled for winter clothing, boots. Absolutely necessary for mud. Still confined to bed, feel very poorly.

13 Oct 44

Ted Braunsworth is learning to drive the tractor as we have no MT section. I hope we do not have to do much hauling after beginning operations, as we have no really experienced men, or men to spare from ops. Another point where establishment should be raised. A bush station is definitely different from a civilized station. GD's of the nature of a handy man are a necessity.

14 Oct 44

Mild - calm sea. Began transporting remaining barrack stores and rations with small tractor. Big tractor repaired by 10. By 2 pm all materials hauled to Whistle Point. Load of MEW material taken to gantry site by 5 pm with great difficulty - road is treacherous. On checking barrack stores no fire equipment found. Wiring for same - (SP-7) No Diesel tools (8 CMU have some), fairly complete set of tools for radio maintenance. Mr Scott, D, lent us discarded hot water tank, otherwise barracks would be without hot water and would likely stay that way. This was a bad oversight! If I ever go to another station just opening, should insist on checking all material going to station! Most of the technical equipment is still at Atlantic Cove. Modulation damaged in transport. Dismantled by Sgt Geldart. It is repairable. Slip rings have been badly handled but no visible damage. Heavy rain all night making road very bad!.

15 Oct 44

West wind - light showers. Both tractors used in hauling MEW to top. Returned to barracks with wood which is apparently scattered all over island in piles. Pulled two AT3's (Wireless Transmitters) to Whistle Point today. Personnel moved into barracks today and had first meal in mess. Hot water tank installed by evening. Works fine. I shan't move up to barracks until I feel better. Mrs. Scott asked me to stay until we are better established, and it is warmer. Wiring EAC for transfer of some maintenance tools from 8 CMU. At present we have no means of cutting wood supply into stove lengths. Also there is no toilet paper, no soap or disinfectant for kitchen, no cleaning material for windows or pots and pans. More oversights!

16 Oct 44

AT-3's taken into TX shack today, seem to be in good shape. I hope so, for after Ward and Morossi go we will have no WEM's and I'm sure that the mechanics know no more than I about the AT-3 (Wireless Transmitter), but then, we've never been stuck before. The remaining oil was brought up today. The big jobs - MEW installation begun. Outside work first - cables, tower etc. One snag! New W/L platform supports had to be made because foundation not built to specifications. Requested partition in Ops Building from Booth.

20 Oct 44

Tower equipment and all OK. We worked till 3 am this morning (21st) and left filaments on all night. Later this morning will see echoes! Wired earlier in evening for maintenance tool transfer. This is important! W/T installation nearing completion, 8 CMU preparing to depart. DAPS requested strength vs establishment return. Wish we knew our establishment. Will wire them in morning that not known. Point to point watch begun on W/T today. Signals exceptionally good.

21 Oct 44

HT turned on approximately 10 am PE's seen to 100 miles. Range poor. Should be OK when wave guide checked again. I Doskins began walk to mess. He is a good all round man. Should get high recommendation. EAC advises fire equipment on way. Good! No authority yet with regard to maintenance tools. If 8 CMU pull out with saws and other tools what will we do? Are we expected to cut it to size with an axe? Advised DAPS that we have no F/Sgts or WO's. Do they not know that? Here again I should have had a course in administration, Air Force organizations, etc. We have no way of knowing what returns are necessary each month, or any way of sending information out. EAC must have been cognizant of my lack of Admin. training. First signal sent out today (SR-23) via W/T.

22 Oct 44

West wind today. Sheltered at Whistle Point but windy up top. Most of personnel given day off. They have all done a good job and deserve a rest. I'm tired, too!

23 Oct 44

West wind - cold- putting finishing touches to Radar installation and it's going to be a fine job. Tests begun today on RT installation with Sydney. Signals good. No authority for tools granted so asked that 8 CMU cut wood supply. We have hardly any wood cut and 8 CMU want to pack their saws. Request to transfer "Y" radio also refused so we shall have no radio! DAPS again asking for strength vs establishment return of F/Sgts and WO. We advised them that we have no such men. I'll ask for clarification and tomorrow will send nominal roll by cypher. What more can we do?

24 Oct 44

Weather fine. Went up top and talked to Sydney during R/T tests. F/L O'Gorman asked co-operation in Victory Loan campaign. Men say "no mail, no bonds" and are they not right? If Sydney can promised to drop Bond forms by air could they not drop mail just as easily? Sydney are not familiar with our Radar setup or have they any information on going Ops. Predictor cable faults and wires interchanged with unused pair. EAC will consent to Canteen supply transfer if Sydney approves. Will wire Sydney tonight. Sent nominal roll to DAPS and repeated to Sydney for Bond quota.

25 Nov 44

Aerial lashed at 6.30 pm for windage. Continued later with difficulty when Sydney asked for all plots taken eastward last night. Plots passed in PL. Sydney was to call again at 2359 but didn't. Retired 0200 hours.

26 Nov 44

Continued high winds - cold. Work on road continued. No word from Sydney on results of our plots or any word on operations. All routine normal.

27 Nov 44

Calm sea, very cold last night. Water frozen again. Pumps had not been left running due to scarcity of water - only 8" in dam. We will be lucky if water lasts until withdrawal.

28 Nov 44

Mild foggy morning. Rain most of last night replenishing water supply. Cold towards evening and pump left running. Preparations for withdrawal continuing. All must be ready as boat cannot wait. Personal heavy bags to go to cove in morning. Also perishable foodstuffs. EAC asked for spotted dog for latter two weeks of operations, but informed them that continuous spotted dog had been kept which would be submitted at close of operations. It will contain more information then.

29 Nov 44

Very cold last night. Water frozen again. Storage tanks drained as water was left running. Thawed out by 10 am. Two loads of baggage taken down this morning. Preparation almost complete.

30 Nov 44

High winds, rain and snow. Began dismantling MEW at 0001 GMT. Had jobs almost completed at 0400 hours but could not take wave guide down in high wind. Three hours work left.

1 Dec 44

Finished dismantling MEW before noon. Wind less, sea still rough. Packed secret equipment and files. Fully winterized ops hut. Brought gantry equipment and motor generator into ops hut. Put shutters and storm doors on ops hut. Took all remaining baggage to cove, so that by 6 pm unit completely ready to evacuate. Remaining shutters can be put on in a few minutes. Cpl McBride to take down remaining RT antenna and clean barracks. Advising EAC, Sydney and PTU that unit closed down and personnel ready for evacuation.

2 Dec 44

Calm sea, very cold. Water supply again frozen. After thawing out personnel merely waiting for boat, which is to arrive tomorrow.

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Updated: June 7, 2004