The Minute Book
Saturday, 7 December 2013

HMCS Kootenay
Topic: RCN

HMCS Kootenay (DDE 258) at Pearl Harbor 1986 (Image from Wikipedia).

HMCS Kootenay

Canadian Bravery Decorations

Government House Ottawa
The Canada Gazette; 29 July 1972

The Governor General, the Right Honourable Roland Michener. on the recommendation of the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee, and with the approval of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, is pleased hereby to award bravery decorations as follows:

Bravery decorations for certain personnel of HMCS Kootenay

HMCS Kootenay, one of seven "Restigouche"-class destroyer-escorts in the Canadian Armed Forces, was conducting full-power trials on October 23, 1969, in the western approaches to the English Channel with eight other Canadian ships, at 08.21 there was an explosion in the engine room. Intense heat, flame and smoke engulfed the engine room almost immediately and spread to adjacent passageways and to the boiler room.

Awards are made in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery performed on that occasion to the following members of the ship's company.

Cross of Valour

To Receive the Cross of Valour (posthumous)

Chief Warrant Officer Vaino Olavi Partanen
Canadian Armed Forces

CWO Vaino Olavi Partanen of Dartmouth, N.S., and Verdun, Quebec, was chief engine room artificer aboard HMCS Kootenay. When the explosion and fire devastated the engine room immediate orders were given to evacuate, but Chief Warrant Officer Partanen, in full knowledge that he was in mortal danger, remained behind in order to report the situation by telephone to the officer of the watch on the bridge. He died moments after attempting to make a report on the situation.

To Receive the Cross of Valour (posthumous)

Lewis John Stringer
Canadian Armed Forces

Sgt Lewis John Stringer, of Hamilton, Ontario and Dartmouth, N.S., a supply technician, was off-duty in the cafeteria when the explosion occurred. He understood the danger immediately, stepped into the exit and used his body to block the way to the smoke-filled passageway. He instructed others in the cafeteria to get down on the deck, breathe through their sleeves and crawl out by way of the galley. Sgt. Stringer waited until the last man had made good his escape before attempting to leave himself. He collapsed in the galley and although rescued, he succumbed later.

Star of Courage

To Receive the Star of Courage

Officer Cadet Clément Léo Bussière
Canadian Armed Forces

Clément Léo Bussière, of St. Paul, Alberta, was Petty Officer in charge of the boiler room, during the explosion and fire on HMCS Kootenay. As the boiler room filled with smoke, Bussière ordered his men to lie flat on the deck plates and breathe through damp clothing or rags. He saw to it that there was steam pressure for firefighting, and when this requirement was met, put on diver's breathing equipment in order to stay at his post long enough to shut down the boilers properly. Then he joined the damage-control team which was trying to cope with the situation in the engine room.

To Receive the Star of Courage

Clark E. Reiffenstein
Canadian Armed Forces

The late Sub-Lieutenant Clark E. Reiffenstein, of Montreal. was a navigation officer on HMCS Kootenay when the explosion and fire occurred. He put on "aqua-lung" equipment, underwater gear not designed for use in fire-fighting, to enable him to breathe and function in the smoke-filled deck immediately above the engine room. He saw that those in the area of the ship's cafeteria got clear to safer parts of the ship, dragging one man to safety who had been overcome by smoke. Then Sub-Lieutenant Reiffenstein made his way into the boiler room to see that it was cleared and eventually turned the breathing apparatus over to the Petty Officer in charge in the boiler room.

Medal of Bravery

To Receive the Medal of Bravery

Master Warrant Officer Robert Gary George
Canadian Armed Forces

MWO Robert G. George, of Tupperville, Ontario the senior hull technician aboard HMCS Kootenay organized damage control parties, sprayed one of the ammunition magazine areas and then flooded it to prevent a possible explosion. He led the attempt to fight the fire in the engine room through the forward hatch, at one point getting as far as the foot of the ladder into the engine room before being forced back. He remained in an area of the ship which could have received further damage in order to direct firefighting activities.

To Receive the Medal of Bravery

Warrant Officer Gerald John Gillingham
Canadian Armed Forces

WO Gerald John Gillingham was off-duty at the time of the explosion but rushed from his mess to the mortar well where a party was being organized for rescue and firefighting. He put on a breathing apparatus and made his way into a devastated area immediately above the engine room to shut off the "main stops" at the emergency position. Later, he displayed leadership and daring in exposing himself to heat and flame to operate one of the fire hoses near the engine room.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

View Latest Entries

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« December 2013 »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Army Rations
Battle Honours
British Army
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Canadian Militia
Cold Steel
Cold War
Drill and Training
European Armies
Forays in Fiction
Martial Music
Military Medical
Military Theory
Pay; the Queen's shilling
Sam Hughes
Soldier Slang
Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks

You are not logged in. Log in
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile