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Clyde River

News from Clyde River 

From News on the DOT 1953

Arctic Shangri-Lah

Here I am writing from the Shangri-Lah of Baffin Island, Clyde River. My
predecessors also called it Air-Drop Valley, why they called it that, I'm not
too sure because I haven't seen very much of anything dropping this year.
We have some snow here and a couple of diesel engines which don't seem to
want to run the way the book says they are supposed to. But outside of that,
there is not too much happening around these parts. We have the odd ship come
in the spring, and occasionally a plane lands bringing back one of our men from
medical treatment on the outside.

The DOT personnel here consists of the following: Sidney Steinhor R/S. Gerry
Wood R/S, Vic Lundin R/S, Johnny Rogo OIC Radio, Glen Haggerty Radio Op., and
Mike Morgan (also known as Forty Watt Morgan) OIC. The three Americans
are as follows: A/IC Roy Cash, A/2C Doug Xiques, and A/2C Pete Lamberty. We
are very happy to say that we are in possession of the best cook on Baffin Island, in
the person of Frank Bongard.

Incidentally in the previous paragraph we remarked that there was very little
excitement here, but we neglected to mention that we did have a building burn
down, but it was only the main living quarters. For the interest of the readers of the
DOT News, the fire in the main living quarters, was first discovered at approximately 5 PM on Feb. 14th, when the lights in the radio building adjoining went out. The
living quarters consisted of four bedrooms, bath and living-room, also a small
radio store room. The living-room contained the library, radio-phonograph
and recreational equipment.

The fire had made good progress when discovered and all fire extinguishers on
the station were brought into use. At the time of the fire the wind was blowing
from the west, thus blowing the smoke and flames away from the radio building.
Attempts were made to get into the burning building, but smoke prevented this, and
extinguishers were used from outside the living-room windows. When the men
were unable to put out the fire, they began tearing down the connecting passageway
between the main living quarters and the radio building. Snow drifts piled up against
this passageway made this difficult and very little progress had been made when
the wind shifted to the south threatening the radio building. Attempts to wreck the
passageway were abandoned, and the men began removing the equipment out of
the radio office, and anything which could possibly be saved.

After most of the equipment had been removed, the wind again shifted to the
west permitting the men to recommence tearing down the passageway. This was
finally accomplished.

The three Americans worked very hard with the DOT men, and at one period
of their efforts,ammunition began exploding in the burning building making their
task more hazardous. At approximately seven o'clock the roof caved in, and
about four or five the next morning danger of flying sparks to the adjoining radio
building was passed.

The men were completely exhausted and the Clyde River brigade of fire fighters
trooped single file to the Hudson Bay Co. to enjoy, (half heartedly) a swell breakfast of ham and eggs. The personal belongings and arctic gear of Vic Lundin, Frank
Bongaid, Glen Haggerty and Johnny Rogo, were completely lost, except for the
clothes they had been wearing at that time.

An R.C.A.F. emergency plane arrived here March4, bringing in much needed
bedding and clothing for the above four men. Temporary sleeping quarters have
been arranged in the American barracks, until mare suitable living quarters can be
built. Contributions of clothing, co-operation in fighting the fire, and full efforts in
normal operations on being resumed, by three Americans here, were greatly
appreciated by all concerned.

Our roving reporter for the Clyde River Tropical Tribune sums up his report as
follows: quote, On Feb. 14 last, our station was the centre of a special phenomena
seldom recorded in these parts - an isolated heat wave. It was centered in the
living quarters adjoining the kitchen and radio room. So great was the excitement
that the antics of the weather men, dashing around to observe it invoked the time
worn comment of some Eskimo wag "Ikki too nonnee" which being literally
translated means "where the L is the fire". The wit was more accurate than
intended as shortly afterward all that was left standing of the living quarters
was the bathtub, and it was teetering dangerously, but the never say die spirit
of the DOT shineth through all adversity.

Another Clyde River resident Sydney Steinhor when queried on the disaster
spoke the following "Luckily the ration shed and kitchen were saved along with the
radio room. It can now be reliably reported that there is no truth in the rumour that
the food is so bad here that even the flames wouldn't touch it".

Says Vic Lundin R/S of the catastrophe "Too bad about the house, I'll sure miss
the bathtub, now there are twelve of us and we'll have to draw lots to see who's
going to use the OIC's tub next, and nobody wants to be first because whoever's
first has to use the blowtorch to thaw out the pipes. Bathtubs are sure
convenient things to have around''.

Radio Op. Junior Haggerty quotes "The transmitter (AT3) weighing 630 lbs
survived the shock of being tossed out the window, a tribute to the makers of the
bailing wire by which it was held together".

Jerry Wood R/S reports, "I guess for many years to come, the Eskies will
continue to whisper in awed tones of seeing the white man hurrying, actually
hurrying in broad daylight, a phenomena equalled only by Haley's Comet or a
seven horse parley''.

OIC Mike Morgan says, "When they were passing the radios and equipment out the
office window to us, WHO, put the can of spam in my hand?"

Operations are now back to normal and grateful acknowledgement is extended to
the Head Office and the R. C. A. F for their prompt action regarding our needs, at a
most trying time.

Sincere thanks and appreciation is also extended to Len Brown,

Manager of the H.B.C. for the many courtesies he extended us during and after
the fire.

In closing, I would like to say that the three Americans posted here, helped

us wonderfully during and after the fire.

Mike Morgan



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