HILLMAN WWII GALLERYI was raised in Elrose, Saskatchewan -- in the middle of the Canadian prairies -- in the 'Dirty 30s' -- which I guess instilled a fascination for the sea. In fact, I had applied for the Navy two years before I got in. I was the only one in my family to join the Navy -- two of my brothers joined the RCAF and two joined the RCA.
HMCS PRINCE ROBERT
Robert Gerald Hillman CPO
A WWII Scrapbook
I. The Early Years
Street photographer photo of Jerry Hillman and friend in Victoria (Alf Dorin?) His brother ran a radio station in Saskatoon. Victoria. (Winter 1940)
Jerry Hillman (r) and Friend in Victoria
My training was on the West Coast in Esquimalt and Comox (Engineers training) from where I was posted to Halifax on the East Coast. It was there that I married my fiance, Louise Campbell of Strathclair, Manitoba, on May 27, 1941. We lived in Halifax until my posting to Newfoundland in February, 1942. At about this time I Switched from being a Stoker with the Engineers to the Shipwright Department in St. John's where I worked at ship repair for 2 ½ years.
Robert Gerald Hillman and Louise Marie Campbell
Wedding Picture (May 1941)
Louise, baby Billie, and Jerry Hillman (1944)
I was then posted back to Esquimalt on the West Coast where I worked as an instructor at the Training Establishment. Following this I volunteered for duty on the HMCS Prince Robert as Ship’s Blacksmith. A shipwright friend from Newfie had asked if I’d go with him on this adventure. My goal had always been to serve on a ship in the war effort, and realizing also that if I didn’t spend time at sea I wouldn’t be in line for promotion, I signed up. The hardest part was leaving my wife and two year-old son behind.
HMCS Prince Robert
After the shakedown cruise we left Victoria for San Francisco where we added more armour to the ship. I did a tremendous amount of welding on ship so I came to know every part of the vessel. It would be quite interesting now to see the ship’s plans to bring back a few memories. We were all very proud of the ROBERT. Sadly, following our return from the Pacific, the ship was sold and eventually ended up as an Italian luxury liner.
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BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO