Navy vet recalls ups and downs of wartime life

Bud Flavelle served in the Royal Canadian Navy aboard HMCS The Pas during the Second World War. (LIBETTI_FLAVELLE_PIC_E1)

A can of Spam transports Bud Flavelle back in memory to when he was 18 years old and a crewman aboard a Second World War warship.

“One of my shipmates and I had been making Spam sandwiches one night and inadvertently left the can out,” he said. “It was one of those with teeth that ran around it … When my friend went to get up (from his hammock) a wave hit (the ship) and he landed on his butt on this can of spam. He just yelled like hell.”

Flavelle served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943-1945, during the Second World War. Aboard the corvette HMCS The Pas, Flavelle aided in the coastal patrol of waters from Sydney to Halifax off Nova Scotia and along the shore near Saint John, N.B., in the Bay of Fundy. The end of the Spam injury incident was equally humorous.

“We had to radio up to Halifax to let them know we had an injured man aboard because of a can of Spam,” Flavelle said.

Flavelle recalled those treacherous waters HMCS The Pas navigated along the Atlantic coast.

“We were on top of waves and then we would just drop. A small corvette in a heavy wave… got thrown around like a cork.”

Flavelle said after the war he tried to keep in touch with his shipmates from The Pas.

“After the war and after I married Adrienne, I got a call from Homer…We were great buddies on the ship. I went downtown to meet him and we had a couple of drinks,” Flavelle said. “Years went by and I came home from work one night and there was Homer in my apartment with Adrienne. He wanted to go downtown again and so we did. And that was the last I heard from him.”

Over 65 years have passed since Flavelle served, yet fond memories of The Pas still bring a smile to his face.

“We were all young,” he said. “It was a great experience to be at sea with a bunch of guys your own age. I often think of the guys I sailed with and what a wonderful group they were.”

Flavelle currently resides at the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care, where he just celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary.