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Old 10-12-07, 02:32
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cmperry4 cmperry4 is offline
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Reported today by The Canadian Press:

Volunteer group to restore a piece of Canadian naval history
By Jered Stuffco
THE CANADIAN PRESS
SARNIA, Ont. — It’s a rare sight to witness an antique warship float out of the water and hover 10 metres above ground.
But that was the surreal scene along the waters of the St. Clair River on Sunday as a crowd of curious landlubbers joined naval aficionados to watch a towering crane hoist an 80-tonne warship onto dry land.
“We were worried it wasn’t going to happen today,” said Paul Wooley, the man behind the Friends of Q105, which aims to take the decommissioned Second World War ship and restore it to its former glory.
But after two false starts, a day and a half of waiting and the work of volunteers from the local Steelworkers union, the Duc D’Orleans — originally a Nazi U-Boat killer christened the Q105 — finally rested on dry land.
“I feel a lot better,” said Wooley on Sunday afternoon, standing next to the ship.
The effort was also helped by Sterling Cranes, which donated a 40-metre hydraulic crane for the ambitious project.
In 2010, Wooley and his group plan to sail the boat to Halifax, via the St. Lawrence Seaway, to take part in the Canadian Navy’s 100-year anniversary celebrations.
“When this is finished, it will be the only Canadian vessel from World War II that will be seaworthy and in operation,” said Wooley, adding that the boat was built in Sarnia a mere 500-metres from were it now sits.
Originally built in 1943 at a cost of $80,000, the Q105 was designed to hunt down and destroy submarines.
Armed with sonar, 20 millimetre anti-aircraft guns and powerful depth charges, it was once a major force on the high seas.
The 38-metre vessel, powered by two gasoline-powered engines, was made entirely from wood, meaning it was nearly immune to magnetic mines planted by the enemy.
The ship, which had a crew of 14, was initially used off the coast of Bermuda as a convoy escort.
But after the Axis powers were defeated in 1945, the ship was donated to the government of Quebec, said Wooley.
The ship was used by McGill University as a research vessel and later housed an arts and crafts college.
In 1948, the boat was sold off, outfitted with a passenger deck and used to ferry folks up and down the St. Lawrence in Quebec City.
That’s where Woolley first spotted her in 1974.
“I knew right away it was an old sub chaser,” recalled Wooley.
The Duc D’Orleans sailed home to Sarnia in 1978 after a local businessman bought it.
“And it’s plied the waters up and down the river as a day cruiser ever since,” said Wooley.
Last year, the boat was decommissioned and donated to Wooley’s group.
The restoration is expected to take two years, hundreds of hours of volunteer labour and up to $500,000 in material costs.
Along with tearing off the passenger deck and painting the hull haze grey, the ship will be outfitted with replica guns and phoney depth charges.
“When we’re done with it, it’s going to look exactly the same as it did in 1943,” said Wooley.
Among the crowd watching Sunday was Bill Randall, who witnessed the Q105 slide into the water in 1943.
“I was just a young fella,” said Randall, who was 11 at the time of the original launch of the boat.
Now 75, Randall has fond memories of that day.
“I never thought she’d survive this long — or me.”

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Richard Lam
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duc d\'orleans.jpg  
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Old 15-12-07, 10:48
Keith Webb's Avatar
Keith Webb Keith Webb is offline
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Default A (tiny) wartime picture



And another article to be seen here
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