Letters from our Readers
Our Navy at Work
Dear Downhome: My name is Master Seaman Donnie Tufts. I am originally from Petites, Newfoundland. I'm presently serving on a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf onboard HMCS Charlottetown in support of war against terrorism.
We got most of the 57 Newfoundlanders onboard together for a photo with the Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier, when he came to visit us for Christmas. Peter McKay, minister of National Defense, and Canadian Forces Chief Lacroix were also onboard to show their support for the troops during the holidays.
We all love reading your magazine and have quite a few being passed around throughout the ship. Keep up the great work.
A list of the Newfoundlanders onboard, in no particular order: MS Tufts, Petites; PO2 Buckle, Corner Brook; OS Penton, Fogo Island; LS Penton, Gander Bay; LS Dyke, Gander; LS Tiller, York Harbour; LS Lidstone, Stephenville; LS Parsons, Rose Blanche; PO2 Cobourne, St. Anthony; CPO2 Hayes, St. John's; LS Murphy, Marystown; PO2 Osborne, Little Bay East; Cpl Flight, Howley; MS Walsh, Bay de Verde; LS Corrie, Rose Blanche; MS Dunford, Francois; PO2 Pat Makey, St. John's; PO1 Parsons, Windsor; LS Alexander, Trout River; PO1 Buffet, Fortune; LS Cessels, Fortune; PO2 Colombe, St. Georges; PO2 Allan, Harbour Breton; LT(n) Chalk, Deer Lake; LS Kavanagh, Ferryland; Sgt Swyer, St. George; LS Fitzgerald, Avalon; LS Sparks, Georgtown; LT(n) Dale St. Croix, Riverhead; MS Seward, Port aux Basques; MS Rendell, Grand Falls-Windsor; OS Mooney, Placentia; LS Maidment, Little Catalina; PO2 Lock, Buchans; LS Griffin, Harbour Breton; LS Watkins, Indian Cove; AB Switch, Conche; PO1 Roswell, Corner Brook; LS Holloway, Port Blanford; LS Ellsworth, Pasadena; MS Decker, Reidville; PO2 Monette, Reidville; Cpl Vardy, Clarenville; LS Letto, L'Anse-au-Clair; OS McQuaid, Bay d'Espoir; Cpl Lafosse, Gande; AB Farrell, Corner Brook; Pte Gavel, Labrador City; Cpl Chippet, Leading Tickles; AB Lingard, Grand Falls-Windsor; Capt Thomey, Fort mcNewfoundland; OS Messeau; LS O'Keefe; PO2 Layman, Fogo Island; OS Musseau; and LS O'Keefe. Missing from photo are LS Parsons, Dover; SLT(n) Schmidt, Conche; CPO2 Young, Stephenville.
MS Donnie Tufts
(currently serving on HMCS Charlottetown)
On behalf of all of us at Downhome, thank you for the work you and your fellow troops do to preserve freedom for all Canadians.
Avondale's Old Mill
Dear Ron; I am enclosing a picture of the old water-powered mill in Avondale, Newfoundland. It was built in the late 1880's by Mr. William Lewis Clarke of Bristol, England and operated until 1892. On the day after the big fire devastated St. John's, a fire destroyed both the mill and the Clarkes's home.
Mr. Clarke rebuilt the mill that same year. He was married to Eliza Percey of Brigus and their son, Harold Clarke, operated the mill until 1948 when he retired due to ill health. He later sold the mill to John Mason of Avondale and for a time, it was operated by Leo Mason, the owner's brother. When it was no longer profitable, the old mill fell idle and remained so for many years.
Mr. Mason then leased the old mill to the co-operative society in 1983, which made plans to restore it as a tourist attraction. A federal government work project helped restore it, but the lease ended in 1991 and it went idle again. In June 1995, I purchased the land and building from Mr. Mason with great plans in mind. Less than a month later, the 145-year-old sawmill burnt to the ground.
Now I am planning to create an R.V. park and lodge with an interpretation/museum station to tell all about the mill in its day. I was hoping that your readers might see the picture and read my story about Avondale's old mill, and help me find pictures, information, artifacts or anything else relating to the history of the building.
Avondale, Conception Bay South, NL
If any readers can help Jackie find out more about the history of the old mill (pictured above) that burned down in Avalon, you may write to her at P.O. Box 224, Avondale, Conception Bay South, NL, A0A 1B0, telephone 709-229-6562, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Got Grounded?
Dear Downhome: Here is a photo taken in Stephenville, Newfoundland, in what I think is 1976. In the photo is me in the arms of my father, Frazer. My twin brother, Jodi, is being held by my mother Joan. I was wondering if anyone had information on the wrecked boat in the background. I love this photo and any information would be great.
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland
According to my friends Leonard Ivany and Wayne Flemming (who were hired as watchmen to guard that ship from looting shortly after she ran aground), the vessel is called the Mardia Reefer. She was a freezer ship that was picking up fish. She arrived at the entrance to Port Harmon during a raging winter storm, came in on the wrong side of the breakwater and ran aground. The wreck happened, says Leonard, because the ship's captain refused to wait for a pilot to guide the vessel into the harbour and attempted it solo. Below is a picture of my son, Grant, and me taken the year of the wreck - it was sometime in the early 1970s, but I can't remember exactly when. I drove down to Port Harmon last year, and all that remained of the Mardia Reefer were several pieces of rusting iron on the beach beside the breakwater. If anyone has more information on the shipwreck, please leave a comment (see "Share your comments" on right).