Joseph Stephen Gaal

Joseph Stephen Gaal

Although only 20 years of age when the torpedoing, in mid-Atlantic, of the Canadian frigate, Chebouge, caused his death, on October 4, 1944, A/B Joseph Stephen Gaal had a veteran's service behind him. He had enlisted in the R.C.N.V.R., on March 21, 1942, and trained in London and Halifax. In June he went to sea as a torpedo man and served on corvettes, frigates, and fairmiles. On his last trip on the Chebouge, when the frigate was struck, A/B Gaal was killed instantly, and his body was caught in the wreckage. The frigate was then towed by an Allied ship for 1000 miles, only to be caught in a terrific storm that blew 12 hours in the vicinity of South Wales and caused the Chebouge to flounder and drift, through the dense rain, on to the sandy bottom of Swansea Bay. The storm was so severe that it loosened the wreckage and A/B Gaal's body was washed into the sea seven days after his death, to be recovered a few days later. He was buried on October 16 with full naval honors at St. Morriston, Swansea, Wales. Born April 12, 1924, in Hungary, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gaal, Joseph came to Canada and Brantford with his family in 1928. He attended St. Basil's School and later the Collegiate Institute. He worked for a time in Galt before his enlistment. His brother, Charles, was also an A/B in the R.C.N.V.R., and the two brothers saw a great deal of one another, although they served on different ships. Once they sailed together on the Queen Elizabeth, in September, 1943, as volunteers for service on British destroyers, and were at H.M.C.S. Niobe, Greenock, Scotland.

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