Fonds - Alex Polowin fonds

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Alex Polowin fonds

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  • l943-l945 (Creation)

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3 folders 1 book 1 audio cassette 2 photographs; b&w

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Alex Polowin was born in Lithuania in 1926 and traveled to Ottawa with his mother, Bess and four other children in 1928. After attending York Street School and Ottawa Tech, he enlisted in the Canadian Navy at 17 years of age. Following training in Toronto and Halifax at HMCS Cornwallis, he was stationed at St. Johns, Newfoundland at HMCS Avalon. He became an Able Bodied Seaman, a gunner and served on HMCS Pictou, HMCS Huron and HMCS Poundmaker. “The Huron, a 2000 ton ship that carried 200 men, spent the winter on convoy duty between Scotland and Murmansk, Russia. In the spring, the ship would make sweeps of the German-held French coast, shooting at any craft it came across”. Alex Polowin was one of 24 chosen seamen to represent the Canadian Navy at the Allied Nations Day Parade in London in 1943. It was an “exciting, colourful display with Gurkhas, Sikhs” and they marched past King George VI. The Huron crew were reviewed by King George VI when they escorted his ship from Malta to Scapa Flow. The Huron served as part of a “protection force” for four or five days in the English Channel during the Normandy Landings in 1944. They were among the most trying days of the war as they slept beside their guns on a “relaxed action stations” basis. At least five German destroyers were sunk by these allied destroyers. At other times the seamen traveled out of Plymouth in 2-4-6 or 8 destroyers. The air force would fly over the French harbours to see what ships were flashed up. On that information the allied destroyers proceeded to hunt the enemy. After the war, Alex Polowin finished his high school, worked as a salesman for home furnishings and then became a self-employed insurance broker.

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Fonds consists of photocopied naval service records in World War II, photocopied Polowin 1928 immigration listings, biographical information, book Ready the brave: a chronicle in the wake of HMCS Huron, v.l, 1943-46 and material about Alex Polowin’s deceased son, Howard Joel Polowin (1954-1995).

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