Battle of the Atlantic Heroes: Signalman J.B. Anstruther and L.M. Reed Anstruther

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Navy News / April 30, 2021

We would like to introduce you to a naval family, forged during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Signalman J.B. Anstruther and L.M. Reed Anstruther both donned a Navy uniform in service to their country. Their paths of service led them both to His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Shelburne, a naval repair base located at Shelburne, N.S., where they met.

Signalman J.B. Anstruther didn't talk much about his time in the Navy, but from his service, did mention that he saved a man's life. While serving aboard HMCS Nanaimo, he and his crewmates were called upon to assist in search and rescue duties, pulling men from the water as their ship sank. While his shipmates were rescuing survivors from one side of their ship, J.B. Anstruther checked the other side, and discovered that there was a lone survivor in the water.

During the time he was stationed at HMCS Shelburne, he was tasked with guarding a U-boat which had surrendered to Allied powers at the end of the war.

L.M. Reed Anstruther enlisted into the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, a 6,000-plus family, as a coder, and was stationed at HMCS Shelburne during the war. L.M. Reed Anstruther also did not speak much about her naval service after the war, however happily and proudly attended reunions with her comrades, a few of these alongside her daughter.

Post war, Signalman J.B. Anstruther joined the local volunteer fire department, as to him, service was a lifelong commitment. He was also said to have acquired a special skill gained during the war: he could sleep anywhere, explaining to family members that while some crew were sleeping in their hammocks, other men were playing cards right below them!

To the Anstruthers, we thank you for your service during the Battle of the Atlantic.