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SS Torondoc (Fort William, Ontario) May 20, 1942 The SS Torondoc was a Canadian Cargo ship, built in 1927 and owned by Paterson Steamships Ltd, Fort William, Ontario. The ship operated on the Great Lakes, carrying grain, coal and pulpwood until 1941. In 1941 the Canadian Government requisitioned the SS Torondoc for war service with the Canadian Merchant Navy. The ship was captained by François Xavier Daneau with a ship’s compliment of 22 crew, including the Captain. On May 20, 1942 the ship was moving unescorted sixty miles north west of Martinique with a cargo of bauxite on route from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands to Trinidad. At 7:53 am, a German U boat (U-69) attacked the SS Torondoc and a single torpedo hit amidships. The crew took to four lifeboats and two rafts. While the Germans questioned the survivors, there was no further trace of the crew. All were lost. Among the crew was one Nova Scotian: Name: Joseph Etienne Cottreau Rank: Watchman Service: Canadian Merchant Navy Date of Birth: September 2, 1904 Place of Birth: Wedgeport, NS Date of Death: May 20, 1942 Age: 38 Memorial: Halifax Memorial Reference: Panel 2 Commemorated on Page 117 of the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 10 and August 7 Joseph was the son of Arthur Xavier Cottreau (1874-1934) and Helene Ada (Doucet) Cottreau (1883 – 1909). Joseph’s father Arthur was born in Wedgeport, the son Charles Fulgence Cottreau (1832-1905) and Philomène (Colin) Cottreau (1840-1907). Joseph had one brother John Roger Cottreau (1907-1991). Arthur worked as a fisherman and was widowed in 1909 when Helene died of consumption. Arthur was still working as a fisherman when he remarried Rose or ‘Rosie’ (Boudreau) Manuel (b. 1882 or 1886- 1976) in Guysborough, NS, on October 18, 1914. Rose was a widow, born in Petit-de-Grat, NS, the daughter of Jeffrey and Louise Boudreau. Rose had four children of her own from her first marriage; Henry William Manuel, John Frederick ‘Fred’ Manuel, Clara Ethel Manuel, and Louise Laura Manuel. Arthur and Rosie had one daughter together, Mamie Louise Cottreau (Hanlon) (1915-1994). By 1921, Arthur and Rosie owned a farm and were living in Canso, Guysborough Co., NS, with Joseph, Joseph’s half- sister Mamie, and Rosie’s four children from her first marriage. Although farming, both Arthur and Joseph are both listed as fisherman on the census. Although his enlistment date is uncertain, Joseph joined the Merchant Navy, and began service on the SS Torondoc on September 1, 1941, in Halifax, NS. The ship sailed to New York, arriving on September 13, 1941, having travelled from Quebec to Dingwall, NS and Halifax, NS. Joseph was serving as Second Cook at that time. In addition to being memorialised on the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park, Joseph is also remembered on the Lost at Sea Memorial in Yarmouth, NS.
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SS Torondoc (Fort William, Ontario) May 20, 1942
photo: courtesy of Harold Keeping at uboat.net
Halifax Memorial