|My Dad on the far right|
The base was established in 1941, back when Newfoundland was still called the Dominion of Newfoundland and didn't belong to Canada. The base was used as a hub for ships and aircraft protecting convoys crossing the Atlantic and as well as a base for coastal patrol aircraft and submarine detection.
|Five of my mother's siblings, photo taken in Freshwater, Newfoundland. Town of Placentia in back of photo.|
Four hundred families were displaced when building of the naval base began and most of them moved to the nearby town of Freshwater. In exchange for 50 old "Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson class" destroyers the United States was granted 99 year British land leases on the island of Newfoundland. My grandfather's family was originally from Argentia and while it was heartbreaking for the locals to abruptly be told to leave their homes reports have it that spirits were generally positive as they were looking forward to the needed jobs that would be created.
Want another look at Newfies? A great book to read is "The Day the World Came to Town" by Jim DeFede. Thirty-eight jet liners were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 and these are the stories about their week long stay and the unbelievable hospitality that was shown to them by the residents. A great read this week as folks reflect on those events whose anniversary just passed.
More on Argentia to follow in the coming days!