Military Ops




Reproduced with permission from The Beacon Supplement July 31, 1991


Submarine in Gander Lake?


Editor’s Note:  This rather humorous incident was rewritten from a column call “Slipstream” in the Gander Magazine published for the months of July-August 1944.

 Could that be a sub in Gander Lake?

 A typical Newfoundland dawn broke cold, grey and misty over Gander one day in August 1944. 

 At 4 a.m. things were quiet except for the whirring props of aircraft warming up on the tarmacs.  Calls were coming in to the desk at the Detention Barracks from the men on the beats.  Everywhere the situation was quiet.

 Cpl. Stew Wilson was on duty at the desk when he received a call from the Lake.  “What’s that, again,” he drawled sleepily, “Ah! You’re crazy.  Go to bed and sleep it off!”  He was about to put down the receiver when the voice on the other end checked him with, “No, really I’m serious.  It’s out there and we’ve all seen it.”  “But,” countered Stew, “it ain’t possible.”  “Possible or not,” appealed the voice, “it’s there.”

 Wide awake at the shock he’d just received, Stew decided that if someone was pulling his leg, they were going to pay for it.  “Larry” languois on duty with him was sent to the barracks to wake up reinforcements.  This he did with great speed.  At the barracks Larry turned on the lights and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Everybody up!”  Groans, grunts, murmurs, oaths and even threats were heard from every corner of the room.  A few obliged!

 Larry went out of the barracks with the same speed he had made his appearance and, on the way out, he tripped on a wire and went sprawling in the mud.  In the meantime, Paul Hayes had driven around and picked up the major and D.A.P.M.   With tommy guns and other assorted weapons, the group set out for the locale of the trouble.

 Arriving there, they approached the scene cautiously as they were shown the approximate vicinity of it and about this time, a boat was being launched for what appeared to be the deck.  Yes, it was there all right!  Visibility was poor but that certainly looked like the real thing.  It was a sub!

 The probability of a sub getting into the lake was not overlooked but there wasn’t time to check with the authorities.  This was a time for action.  Besides, the enemy is tricky.  Robot bombs and all.  Better not to take chances.

 Slow, cautiously, they approached.  It was getting lighter now.  Fingers closed caressingly around the stocks of their guns.  They were getting nearer now.  A hundred yards closer, closer…

 “What the hell?” oathed the D.A. suddenly and started to laugh.  No, it wasn’t a sub, but it sure took on the appearance of one in the misty morning light.  A bunch of logs tied together with a  rather large oil drum on top were being floated down the lake.  The boat they had sighted was a dory with which the Newfies were pulling the load to the other end of the lake. 

 Well, it made for an interesting morning anyhow!

researched by Carol Walsh

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