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Biography of Charles Lewis - A/B

Viewers able to provide more information (stories or photos) are asked to contact Dan Delong.
March 1945 Photo Nene Lives Book Photo
Extracted from the photo of the Crew of the Nene on deck taken March 1945
Photo from the book "NENE LIVES The Story of H.M.C.S. Nene & her Crew" - 1993

Biographical text is not yet available for this member of the crew. Please, send any information that you can offer about this individual to Dan Delong.

He was in charge of the forward magazine, while aboard the Nene.

Here are a few gleanings from e-mails sent by Ray Lewis (grandson of Charles Lewis -1902-1980) and his wife Leanne, who discovered a brass bell engraved with H.M.C.S. NENE in her mother-in-law's china cabinet. Ray sent along some scans of the bell - the origins of which remain a mystery.
[The bell is about 4 inches tall. Lettering on the top is hard to read, but includes: 1936 with an up arrow and left arrow beside and a letter N above, GP inside a box, the letter I with &SUB-CAL II L.A possibly, LOT 459 and S-/09/43 (which may be September 9th, 1943).]

Ray Lewis also recounted a few salty tales told by his father and grandfather (Charles) about their wartime experiences. Now, he cautioned that such stories were told during elbow bending sessions between father and grandfather. So, he gives these tales some latitude.

Charles Lewis was in the Royal Navy during WW1 as a very young apprentice seaman. At the end of the War, and after his mother and brothers moved to Canada, he transferred to the RCN. Around the time of his marriage, he left the navy and found other employment. When WWII broke out he enlisted again, as did his son (Ray's father).

Ray remembers his grandfather, Charles, while assigned as a gunner on a merchant ship near Halifax, tell about  having his ship blown out from under him by a U-Boat. Ray's father was on a minesweeper out of Halifax at the same time. His grandmother was delivered a message by the War Department stating that her husband (Charles) was MIA. Ray's dad was immediately given 30 days bereavement leave to go home by train to be with his mother. (Home appears to be a cross country trip to Victoria, B.C.) However, Charles was one of 6 survivors from the sinking. He was also given 30 days convalescent leave to go home by train. Since the train had two sections - the front for regular passengers and the rear for troops - father and son never met during the trip, nor did they even know the other was on the same train.

Upon arrival in Vancouver, Grandfather jumped on the first CPR boat to Victoria. Father had to go through some kind of processing first, so he caught the much later midnight boat to Victoria. Earlier in the evening, as Grandfather walked toward his Victoria home, Grandmother was inside reading another letter from the War Department telling her all was well with her husband. She looked up from the letter just as he walked in the  door.  Father (his son) arrived in Victoria next morning wondering what he would tell his mother about his dad being missing in action. As he walked in the door, there was his mother an father sitting at the table having a cup of tea.

(My father, Don Delong, remembered Charles Lewis being in charge of the forward magazine on board Nene - certainly, after the above events. - Dan Delong)

Ray finished with expressions of affection for his dad and grandad, wishing he had listened to more of their stories - much as we all wish (i.e.; the children and grandchildren of vets).


Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: November 30, 2002