Thomas Robert Kennedy

Thomas Robert Kennedy

In less than three years, from September, 1939, which saw the beginning of the Second Great War, until his death following enemy torpedoing of the Corvette H.M.C.S. Spikenard on February 13, 1942, Chief Stoker Thomas Robert Kennedy, 26, followed a trail of adventure on the high seas that was as colorful as it was dangerous. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. T. Kennedy, 336 St. Paul Avenue, he had a deep love for the sea, which strangely contrasted with the inland setting of his home. Born in Paris, he was brought to Brantford at the age of two by his parents and later attended Dufferin School. Reaching maturity, he worked at the Slingsby Manufacturing Company, Ltd., but the call of the blue waters was too strong to be ignored, and at the age of 21, he joined the crew of a Great Lake boat. With a background of three years' service, it was an easy step into the Merchant Marine at the outbreak of war. Then he really began to know excitement. He sailed to Brazil and to Venezuela, had his ship chased by and was finally able to see the Graf Spee, a German pocket battleship, sunk off Montevideo. The tanker Libby, upon which he was sailing, moved on to France, but misfortune met her in a wreck on Baysleur Rock, off Le Havre. The boat was laid up for repairs and just before the capitulation of France, Chief Stoker Kennedy was returned to this side of the Atlantic on an American boat. He then enlisted with the R.C.N.V.R. at Montreal and after training shipped and served in the North Atlantic run. During his residence in Brantford, he attended the Latter Day Saints Church. His father was a veteran of the First Great War, served in this war with the Canadian Army for six months before being discharged because of his poor health.

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