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Gordon Porter was born 31st, January, 1922. His parents were William Thomas Porter and Emmalita Morgan, both of Blow Me Down, Port de Grave peninsula, Conception Bay, NL. He had eight siblings; six brothers and two sisters. His family were inshore fishers and Gordon prosecuted the fishery after returning from war.
He signed up for service late fall, 1940 and after two weeks of training at a YMCA in St. John’s Gordon became part of the 14th naval contingent which comprised 180 men. In January, 1941 he travelled on the M.V. Northern Ranger from Argentia, Newfoundland to Halifax, Nova Scotia and joined the troop ship M.V. Georgic. The vessel took twelve days to reach Liverpool, England.
Service Record Information
When Gordon arrived in England he was stationed at various naval barracks for further training.
From 17th, February, 1941 to 18th, July, 1941 he was stationed at the barracks of HMS Drake (Davenport), HMS Ganges (Hipswitch), HMS Europa (Lowestoff), and HMS Miranda (Great Yarmouth), England. At each of these barracks training continued but the major part of his basic training was at HMS Ganges.
Gordon waited six months for his first ship assignment. Eventually he was given sea duties on board mine sweeper, HMS Irvana. His tour of duty, which started on 19th July, 1941 was to keep the waterways and channels around England clear of underwater mines. Unfortunately while heading to port in the early morning of 16th, January, 1942 his ship was attacked by a lone German plane. It flew out of the snow-filled skies dropping several bombs and firing machine guns. The ship sank quickly but not before all personnel had gotten off to other ships. Fortunately there was no loss of life in the attack. The vessel sank at position 5233.16 N 4651.0 E at 0858 hrs.
After losing his first ship Gordon was sent back to HMS Europa barracks. Gordon was given 14 days survivors leave and spent the time in Southport, England. In February, 1942 Gordon was sent back to North America on the troop ship Isle de France. His destination was Brookland, New York via Montreal. While in Brookland, he was tasked to assist the personnel of the French ship Normandie \Lafayette. The Normandie \Lafayette was being converted into a troop carrier at the time but caught fire and sank in the harbour on 9th, February, 1942. From Brookland he was granted 21 days leave home to Newfoundland.
On 7, April, 1942 he was sent to Seattle, Washington to await the completion of the mine sweeper BYMS 2021. The vessel was completed and Gordon joined her on 22nd, February, 1943. Leaving Seattle, he sailed via the Panama Canal to Recife, South America to Freetown, West Africa, to Dakar, French West Africa and then back to Freetown sweeping for mines in each port of call. From Freetown he left on troop ship, Litichia and sailed to South Hampton, England with a stopover at Gibraltor arriving on 26th, June, 1944.
After spending six months in England he was assigned to a Red Cross ship, MLV Student Prince and spent from 12th, Jan, 1945 to 8th, March, 1945 picking up prisoners of war stretcher cases from various Allied countries. Later in March, 1945 he left for New York on the HMS Queen Elizabeth I. The ship also carried German prisoners of war which were used as protection from the German submarines that patrolled the North Atlantic. From New York he travelled by train to Shelborne, Nova Scotia to join the MMS 1061. He delivered the ship to Lochinvar, Scotland on 23rd, January, 1946 and was then drafted to MMS 1011. From the barracks of HMS Martello, Pool he volunteered for bomb and mine disposal duties in April, 1946. After nine months of service from Portsmouth, England Gordon returned to Newfoundland and was released “Class A” on 3, Feb. 1947. For his service during the war he received six medals. These include the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Pacific Star, the Defence Medal, the 1939-45 Medal, and the Volunteer Medal, 1939-45.
As many Newfoundlanders did Gordon met and married a girl from Southport,
England. Gordon and Evelyn Bond were married on St. Valentine’s Day,
14th, February, 1945. They had their first daughter on 12th,
May, 1946 in Southport but because Gordon could not find any suitable
work he moved his new family to Newfoundland. They travelled to Montreal
on HMS Queen and arrived home to Blow Me Down, Conception Bay on 18th,
Oct, 1946. They built a house and home in the community and raised another
daughter and four sons.
Military Records Contact: Daniel B. Breen
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