Nene K270

[Original Naval Discharge Advice 1944] [Back to Civilian Life (589Kb download)]

Civilian Life

The character building that had been formed by those years of service aboard the NENE carried forward into civilian life. Most crew members married, raised families and started out on a work career. The post war era offered many opportunities for the returning serviceman. There were the discharge credits, entitling the serviceman to cash, the opportunity to further his education, credits to establish a small farming operation. Many diverse careers were undertaken, for some the call of God was a lifelong career, for others a career as a contract logger, a fisherman, a fireman, a bus driver, private entrepreneur, administrator. Each crew member contributed to the mosaic of a growing and thriving Canada.

Community Contributions

Many members contributed to the enrichment of the life of the community. Their contribution is as diverse as the men themselves, from art, poetry, crafts and sports. Typical of the works of Sam Forsythe and Ron Graham are two poems written by them and shown in the following pages. They record the history of the ship and its crew.

Following his service aboard the NENE, Ross Newitt continued an avocation that he acquired while a student at High School. After graduation he played basketball for one year on the Ontario Basketball Association circuit before joining the navy.

Following his return from the Navy, Newitt was elected to the executive of the basketball referees association and served for 11 years as assignment secretary. Ross took an active part in refereeing basketball games, having officiated at more than 5000 basketball games. The great attraction for Newitt was working with young people and creating a wholesome environment for young people in the community.

Bill Cameron, after leaving the navy in 1945 took up logging contracting and road building in British Columbia. He and Ruby settled in Revelstoke and although Bill's leisure time had been filled with flying, skiing, prospecting, he became interested in his wife's new career in sculpting soapstone, using the rock that Bill discovered several years earlier when building roads for his company. What began as a hobby developed into a full-time commitment. His sculptures were marketed throughout Canada and worldwide. Castings of Bill's original bears have been cast in bronze and aluminum and stand guard at the entrance to Revelstoke. They are wonderful works of art and much admired. Bill also carves small bears which are much in demand.

There are other ways in which the community has been served. Rod MacAulay a former signalman aboard the Nene, became a minister of the United Church of Canada. He served as Minister/Superintendent at both St. Giles and all Peoples, Winnipeg and at Brunswick Street United Church, Halifax, providing help to the inner-city community of people through the outreach program. For him it has been a life of trials and difficulties but also rewards.

Some former shipmates decided to stay in the service or after discharge rejoined a branch of Canada's armed forces. Dewey Barwis was one of those who remained in the navy and was aboard HMCS Athabaskan in the Korean conflict. Like all wars the civilian population was devastated by the fighting and as much as fighting a war, our sailors showed a compassion for the people. Dewey is caught in a picture befriending a young Korean child, showing him how to hold a baseball bat.

Dewey Barwis and Korean child


The first Nene reunion was held forty years after the war. Through the diligent efforts of Alan and Marg Turner a large group of NENE members was brought together. They came together through word of mouth, advertising in the Canadian Legion magazine, through securing lists of names through the Department of Veterans Affairs. For those of us receiving the call to say this is Al Turner, we're having a reunion of the ships company, was a thrilling and exciting event.

Through the reunions we began to know one another better. Contact was maintained through a periodic newsletter, prepared by Al and Marg Turner. We found some members were flamboyant, others reserved, others with an innate sense of humour, and with others kindness and compassion born out of experience and the meeting of life's many vicissitudes. These reunions brought together the wives and we soon learned about the strength and the important contribution each of them had made in building the life and giving substance to the family of crew members. In all of these factors we found the adhesive that binds the NENE family together. Each reunion we were saddened to learn of the passing of another of our family, our comrade or his wife.

Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: December 12, 2002