Coming home to Liverpool

Barb McKenna
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Canada’s Defence attache in Washington watching the Protecteur return to his hometown, Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL - Rear Admiral Bill Truelove is the Canadian Defence Attache to the United States, stationed in Washington, D.C, but he hasn’t forgotten his Liverpool roots.

For the Milton, N.S. native, watching the Protecteur, a ship he used to command as head of the Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, head to Liverpool to be broken up is like a nostalgic family affair.

Truelove’s father, Larry, who still lives in Milton, served on the HMCS Protecteur. So did his two brothers, Brian and Peter.

And of course, Truelove himself was in charge of the vessel, along with all other Navy vessels on the Canadian Pacific as commander of the Pacific fleet.

“This, in my opinion, is a great story,” Truelove says. “Its a ship that has served our nation very, very well. She has deployed on operations around the world supporting both Canadian ships and supporting our allies in many operations.”

He recalls, coming up to the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait, how the Canadian task group left Halifax on very short notice, and how the HMCS Protecteur was at the heart of that deployment.

He also remembers well the fire that put the HMCS Protecteur out of commission.

“So that incident and everything that happened in the period afterwards I was directly responsible for that will certainly for me be a chapter in my naval career that I will never forget,” he says.

 The 11-hour fire occurred on Feb. 27, 2014. The vessel was 350 miles northeast of Hawaii, providing support to the U.S. Navy, when the fire broke out. The vessel had to be towed to Hawaii.

 “I’m just so proud to say that during the 24 hours immediate and during the 11 hours that the team fought the fire it was such a reflection of the high level of training we have in our navy, the tenacity, the courage, the innovation and everything else that the commanding officer of that ship and the entire ships company went through to ultimately put that fire out save that ship and make sure no one was seriously injured.”

Truelove says he was vacationing with his father when he first learned the Protecteur would be towed to Liverpool to be broken up.

“Well you know its nostalgic right. I thought it was kind of cool and I had this conversation with my dad during our recent holiday together, recognizing that he served on the ship, that Protecteur is coming back to Liverpool for its final days, it’s going to go down and sit at what was the Bowater Pulp and Paper Company, and he’ll see the ship come in,” he says.

“It’s an end of a story that’s 47 years old.”

 For video of the Protecteur’s tow, click here.

Organizations: Canadian Navy, Pacific Fleet, Canadian Pacific U.S. Navy Bowater Pulp and Paper Company

Geographic location: Liverpool, Milton, Canada Washington Hawaii Kuwait Halifax

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