The Hillman 
H.M.C.S. Prince Robert 
Tribute Site

Prince Robert News and Correspondence 
Volume II

From: David Smith
I have just begun researching the Prince Robert and discovered your webpage.
My uncle, Archie E. Smith, was a stoker on this ship and I have just received some information regarding this vessel. My uncle worked side by side with another stoker, whose name I do not know. This other stoker wrote poems and I have copies of some of them. My uncle's daughter gave them to me, but she would like to keep the originals. I have seen the originals and the pages are sweat stained as they were written aboard ship.

Would copies be of any interest to you? I would love to find the children or grandchildren, if any, of the author and give the poems to them. One of the poems is called "The Stoker".
If you can assist me with this, please get in touch.

I will scan the copies I have and email them to you. My cousin also had a number of newspaper clippings regarding the Prince Robert. I will ask her to send copies of them and forward them as well. Most of these clippings would be from the Vancouver Sun paper. I know that I have one clipping about my uncle Archie and will look to see if it contains information regarding the ship.

I am pretty much the family historian and that is why she is giving me the information. She has also given me the war medals that were awarded to Archie and I have a question that maybe you can answer. I have my father's medals and they of course came with ribbons to hang from. This is what I am used to seeing. My uncle's stars have no ribbon, but are suspended from a brass chain that could be worn about the neck. Do you know if this was common practice for naval people? Is there any chance that you will be able to discover who wrote the poems?

The Stoker
If you have stoked a heaving ship with
ton after ton of coal,
You know how it feels to gasp for air
and brace against the roll.

You know what it means to face white heat
and slave to feed the maw
of a flaming hell that roars for more 
and bakes your hard set jaw.

Great beads of sweat coursed swiftly down
to scourge your aching feet, 
as they felt for a bit of solid deck
all warped by clinker heat.

Your eyes have winced as the furnace doors
disclose that hellish glare,
and that tongue of flame that slithered
out to burn the very air.

Your sweat cloth chafes your neck
until the salt cuts through your hide.
Your gloves have shrivelled on your hands.
Your lungs have all but dried.

If you have done this thankless job
I give you now my hand.
For you are the one that really knows
How Convoys reach the land.

From the Archie Smith Collection

From: Terry Bennett
My dad had sailed on the HMCS Prince Robert.
He is shown in this photo of yours rear row far left. (From the PR Photo Page 6)
My dad passed away some years ago and after a hose fire we lost most of the old photos. I enjoy time on your site especially at this time of year showing my Grand Kids the old photos.

If you can mention Raymond O. Bennett as being on far left top row we would appreciate it. Also if you happen to find any more photos of our Dad we would like to get copy emailed. 

Terry Bennett at


From: Robyn Barker
My grandfather served on the HMCS Prince Robert - George Schmidt.  I'm looking for any information on him and his service.  Also, I have these two pictures, but cannot find them in better resolution.  If you can help me and my family out I would greatly appreciate it.  

My grandfather served from Nov. 1943 past VJ Day in '45.    So definitely the time it was in the Pacifc.  He often talked of stories of visiting Hawaii, Australia and Hong Kong.  It was one of the first ships to get the POWs.   The reason we are looking for info is that my great-grand mother tossed all of my grandpa's items from the war in the fire as soon as he got home.  She was a bit opposed to the war and her son serving in it

From: Cy Ridout
My name is Cy Ridout and I was a radar operator on the Robert in 1945 and was in Hong Kong.  
If you would like to contact me my e-mail address is

From: Steve Harding
I'm a senior editor at "Military History," one of 11 magazines produced by the Virginia-based Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines ( ).

I recently wrote an article for "World War II" magazine, one of our sister publications, about the December 7, 1941, sinking of the American cargo ship SS Cynthia Olson by the Japanese submarine I-26. The American vessel was attacked by the sub about half-way between Seattle and Honolulu, and the attack occurred up to an hour before Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.

This makes the Cynthia Olson the first American ship sunk by Japan in World War II, and her crew  all of whom apparently abandoned ship but were never heard from again  the first Americans killed by Japan in the war. 

I have now been asked by a national publisher to expand the article into a book, and am in the process of doing additional research.

As you know, HMCS Prince Robert was bound from Hong Kong to British Columbia when she was diverted to search for Cynthia Olson and her crew following the freighter's SOS calls. My question is this: do you know where I might locate Prince Robert's official log book? I'd like to be able to read the "official" version of her search. And do you know of any other official or unofficial documents such as memoirs of former crewmembers  that might shed light on Prince Robert's involvement in the search for Cynthia Olson?

I'd greatly appreciate any information you might be able to provide.

Steve Harding
Senior Editor
Military History Magazine
Weider History Group
19300 Promenade Drive
Leesburg, VA  20176-6500
(703) 779-8312

From: Geneviève de Muys
I'm working on an exhibition project for the Canadian Navy Centennial and the Naval Centennial Committee in Ottawa. This exhibition will travel all around Canada in 2010 and it will explain the 100 years of the Canadian Navy's history.

I would like to present an exhibition panel on WWII and on HMCS Prince Robert. I saw really interesting photos on your website. Do you think it will be possible for me to get these photos in a good resolution (300 dpi) for the design of the panel?

I'm interested in:
1- The flag were we can read HMCS Prince Robert Landing Party painted on the Japanese Flag
2- In section 2 (HMCS Prince David): Shakedown Cruise Photos PR307 and F4464.
3- In section 5 (Hong Kong): Photo PR501.

Geneviève de Muys
Project Manager and Museologist
Naval Museum of Québec
Naval Reserve Headquarters
National Defence
170, rue Dalhousie, Québec G1K 8M7
Telephone : 418-694-5560 poste | ext 5398
Facsimile : 418-694-5571
Government of Canada

Related to the above items are:

The Ron Suddick photos and letter
featured previously at

Tales of the Prince Robert
Ronald B. Suddick
Personal Photos and Letter

Christine Wilson Shares Photo Memories of Her Uncle

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