Page 48 - Procedure Report of Bodies Brought to Port-aux-Basques from the Ill-Fated Vessel S.S. Caribou
ISSUE : Issue 46
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1
citizens for a long time. Taking the responsibil? ity upon myself, I went to the local merchants and bought the necessary implements to work with. This done, we then asked Mr. Hanson of the Cape Construction Co. if he could make us nine rough coffins to place the bodies in, which he agreed to do. Then came the gruesome task of cleaning up the bodies. L/Cpl. Poirier and myself washed the bod? ies with soap and water using Lysol in the water as a disinfectant; this done we dried the bodies, powdered the face and chest, combed the hair, closed the eyes and then folded their hands and arms across their chests. Then the bodies were placed in sheeting and sewn up, just leaving e- nough open so that the bodies could be identified. As we were doing this the other men were carrying the next body to be dressed and placing the dressed bodies in their caskets. Sgt. Woodley was standing by marking down the identification marks and listing their personal effects. About 1500 hrs Major Cassidy, Captain Adder, a Doctor, and the American Base Embalmer arrived by plane from Fort Pepperel, for the purpose of embalming an American Major and one American Base Worker. When it was learned what they had come for, Sgt. Woodley told him about N/S Wilkie, and the Major stated that if there was enough embalming fluid they would also (We invite you to stroll at your leisure through an on-site woolen mill - perfectly located for your picnic - overlooking the Bras d'Or l_akes! Cape Breton Woolen Mills Mill Store and Craft Shop * OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK * 100% Wool Yam Hand Knits Madawaska Weaving and a Variety of Maritime Crafts Cape Breton Woolen Mills Ltd. R. R. No. 1, Irish Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia BOA IHO (902) 828-2776 embalm the Nursing Sister. There was sufficient fluid and Mr. Ball took particular care to do a good job. Once again we were called upon, this time to be Embalmers' assistants. The major part of this duty was handled by L/Cpl. Poirier. After N/S Wilkie was completed, we decided to go to bed, as it was past midnight and the men were nearly ex? hausted, as little or no sleep had been had since Wednesday morning. Saturday 17 October, 1942. Arriving at the job on Saturday morning we placed the last of the Service Personnel in their coffins, screwed down the tops, and then stencilled their names on the lids of the coffins. Then we tacked a small flag at the head of each coffin. A small token, but a fitting one for the boys of the Armed Services. All this com? pleted, the bodies were moved out into the Express shed ready for shipping. It is to be noted that at this time, 1700 hrs, we had had no instructions from G.O.C. Canadians, and I was getting uneasy. I wanted to wire F.O.N.F. but, as Sgt. Woodley stated, he had received instructions from the G.O.C. on the first day to wire them details and they would instruct us; we figured that they were sending somebody from St. John's on the Special Train due to arrive that evening. At 1800 hrs Flight-Lieutenant H.H. Graham of the R.C.A.F. and Pay Lieutenant E. Wright of the Navy arrived at this Port by fishing schooner--they had been down the coast on an Aircraft Detection Corps inspec? tion trip. F/Lt Graham wired to St. John's to see if he could be of any help to dispose of the Air- force bodies at Port Aux Basques, and he received a wire back saying that in St. John's they did not know of these bodies, and to wire them full de? tails • then we knew that the Navy had not been in? formed either. Sgt. Woodley was stunned after he read the wire, as he had followed the instructions of the G.O.C. to the letter. F/Lt Graham then ''o' CO-OP FUELS Burner Service Contracts Available Automatic Delivery Budget Plan Available Lube ~ Oil - Greases 562-3163 503 PRINCE ST. - SYDNEY, N. S. Stove and Furnace Oil Furnace Maintenance Contracts Available CONSOL-TECHNOLOGYSALES & SERVICE-LIMITED 420 GATEWAY AVENUE, SUITE B. • SYDPORT INDUSTRIAL PK, RO. BOX 394, SYDNEY, N.S. BIP 6H2 A COMPLETE LINE OF OFFICE EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, AND FURNITURE SOME OF THE PRODUCTS WE FEATURE OLIVETTI Electronic Typewriters, Word Processors & Computers (48)1 Phone 562-6150 HUGIN-SWEDA Cash Register Systems "We Service What We Sell"
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