Reginald James Morry
Reginald James Morry Born: 03 August. 1921 Ferryland, Nfld. Married: 11 July 1945 Marylebone, London, England Died: 27 May, 2008 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Gladys Joyce Kortan Born: 17 Jul 1925 London, England Died: 19 June, 2006 Penticton, BC, Canada
Reg and Gladys with Fredris, Chris and Kirk in Ottawa, ca 1959
The War Years
Reg in Uniform, ca 1939 Reg home on his only leave 1943
Reg joined the Royal Navy in 1939, just before the war started. He served on several ships in a number of areas of conflict and was torpedoed several times and sunk once (aboard the “Dundee”). He served on the “King George V” late in the war. That ship was not sunk or damaged in its famous encounter with the “Bismarck”. But the “Hood” was, and it carried among its crew a friend of Reg’s, Albert Devereaux of Ferryland, and several others from Newfoundland, all of whom were lost. Reg was lucky not to be on the “Hood”, as only four of a crew of fourteen or fifteen hundred survived. Also, strange as it may seem, he was also fortunate to have been assigned to the “Dundee”, rather than its sister ship the “Penzance” along with ten other Newfoundlanders. When the “Penzance” went down, there were only a few survivors. None of the Newfoundlanders made it.
Reg was discharged in 1945, but remained on recall for the remainder of his enlistment time – fourteen years. He was discharged with the rank of Petty Officer, equal to the rank of Sergeant in the land forces.
To read Reg’s first hand account of his adventures in the Royal Navy, including his eye witness account of the sinking of the “Bismarck”, download or open the article below:
Reg’s Inland Maritime Career
Another fascinating aspect of Reg’s life is that, though he had salt water in his blood, he was forced by circumstances of employment to spend almost his entire life landlocked in Central Canada at Belleville. In some ways, this could be said to be on an inland sea, Lake Ontario. Later, when he was able to retire and take his ease, he moved to Penticton which, though on a beautiful and massive lake (Okanagan), was still not the ocean he so loved. But he made up for these shortfalls in his surroundings by making use of these inland bodies of water to the utmost of his abilities.
In 1961 Reg began construction of the first of what would be several vessels of his own design. The design in fact was so different from what other landlubber sailors were used to that it merited an article in the Belleville Intelligencer in 1962.
Reg’s son Kirk writes with great emotion concerning this vessel and the role it played in his growing up years, as well as the vessels that followed it:
That boat was a major part of my life, every summer vacation and weekend was spent on her. Dad named her “Hawk” Reg # 2E2623. We did some beautiful 2 week long trips. Never stayed in one spot very long and off we would go again. Experienced a full blown hurricane which scared Mom near to death. I know what the eye of a hurricane is all about. It gives you time to clean your drawers and get ready cause what you just went through you gotta go through again on the other side. Been through some bad storms on the west coast doing search and rescue but nothing compared to that. She took us to Montreal for EXPO in 67. She was finished out on the inside in teak. There was only one like it and of course he painted the hull red. The cabin was white. There was no mistaking who was coming! Man o man, the flood of memories.
Dad sold the Hawk to finance the next project which was a motor sailer. Her hull and cabin superstructure was constructed of steel by a manufacturer in Toronto. What was delivered was one odd looking duck that I will remember to this day. He taught himself to weld when he realized that the hull was so poorly made that a lot of cutting had to be completed to relieve stress in the steel and give her some shape similar to the design. He was pissed but like always he just got down to it and got it done. I remember helping him melt lead into ingots for days to be used as ballast. She as well was completely done out in teak, the power plant, a little Perkins diesel, was installed and last to come was the mast and rigging, which he stepped at the harbor. I sailed her a few times and found her to be heavy but in a stiff wind she would perform well. He was happy with the final outcome and enjoyed it for years. She was a lot larger than the Hawk and the end had to come off of the garage [where he built both vessels] as he was not happy with the cabin height, so of course he cut it off and extended it.
He named her “Matthew”. After asking him why “Mathew”, he gave me a blast for not knowing family history and explained that he named her after a Morry ancestor [Matthew Morry, the immigrant ancestor of the Morry clan in Newfoundland].
There was a Ferro cement boat that made its way to Belleville harbour shortly after that and was all the talk as a local had her built.
As Dad got older, he downsized by purchasing a smaller sail boat which he ended up shipping out to Penticton which I think he named Mathew II. He sailed and fished the Okanagan Lake often but surprisingly never reported sighting Ogopogo. I as well sailed her when visiting Mom and Dad and found her to be delightful in calm or windy conditions.
Fredris, Gladys and Bill Morry, Ottawa, 1964
Kirk on Remembrance Day, early 1970s
Lee and Alyce (2012), and Kirk Hard at Work (2007). Master Corporal Lee Morry (2013)
Fredris (Julia) Morry & Joe, Eaton November 2001
Tara and Shanoah, November, 001; and Ché (with Tanner) 1996
Jaid, Ethan and Amman