Robert Stuart Salt (1933 - Present)
Robert Stuart Salt
The first member of the Salt family born in Canada, ROBERT STUART, was the eldest son of Henry Stuart and Madeline Maude Salt. He was born on the 2nd of October, 1933 in Montreal, Quebec and his introduction to the sea would arrive at the earliest of ages and at the most trying of times.
At the age of only 7 years and with his younger Brother James Gordon living in Montreal with their Aunt and Uncle, ROBERT STUART spent his youth observing the Second World War from the busy convoy and Naval port of Halifax Harbour.
It was during his second period in the United Kingdom undergoing training at the South Shields Marine College that STUART would marry the lovely Edna Mary Marsh, on the 20th of December, 1958 in Langham, Rutland. The two would return to Canada shortly thereafter where STUART would continue his training as a Marine Engineer, employed as the 4th engineer on the MV William Carson, a vessel of the Canadian National Railways fleet.
As a newly commissioned Engineer in the Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve), his Father was responsible for the refit and re-activation of the recently acquired “four-stacker” Town Class destroyers and his Mother volunteered with the women’s auxiliary, working in the library at HMC Dockyard. Baby sitting services being at a premium at that time, it was not uncommon to see young STUART following closely behind a young Killick sailor or Petty Officer, privy to all matters Naval within the busy dockyard. Much time was spent viewing the large ocean liners, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth among others. Viewing the long line of ships departing Bedford Basin in single file prior to reforming in convoy for the long and arduous voyage across the North Atlantic and the arrival of passenger ships dis-embarking POW’s for their eventual transport to parts unknown across Canada. Learning of the arrival of a captured German submarine, of his Fathers requirement to inspect the vessel, and of the subsequent “liberation”, by the acute cheese lover, of a large supply of Limburger cheese sealed in aluminum tubes for the family.
Dwarfed by the immense grandeur of the vessels, STUART spent many hours with his Father on HMC Ships ST. FRANCIS, ST. CROIX, and ANNAPOLIS during his duties, even visiting his Father’s cousin, 3rd Officer Sub-Lieutenant Gordon Dodd Milroy (1st Electrician. 192822. Naval Auxiliary Personnel), on HMS JERVIS BAY, the night before the ship set out on her final voyage. It would be years later, only after a long and successful career as a mariner, that STUART would fully grasp the heroic efforts of the armed merchant cruiser and lone escort for convoy HX 84. Lost on the 5th of November 1940, the ship engaged the powerful German "pocket battleship" ADMIRAL SCHEER for nearly an hour in the hopes of delaying the German naval vessel long enough to enable the scattering of the convoy. Although 190 of the 198 Officers and crew of the JERVIS BAY were lost, 32 of the 37 ships in the convoy escaped sure destruction.
It should be no suprise then, that after many years of salt air, exposed to all things mariner related and the inevitable seafaring blood already entrenched in the Salt name, that ROBERT STUART would soon see his life turning towards the sea. Some 8 years later, he would begin this journey.
At the young age of 15, STUART would embark on the first of many adventures to come and in 3 short years, he had logged more time on the water than most land dwellers do in a lifetime. From 1948 to 1950, he spent this time sailing the Great Lakes, Georgian Bay and Moskoka Lakes in the SS City of Dover, the SS Midland City, the SS Sagamo and the SS Segwun, working his way from waiter and mess boy to purser of the vessels. In 1950, he became the second member of the Salt family to join the ranks of the Naval Reserve. Enrolled at HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston, Ontario his training as a Naval Communicator, albeit short lived, would take him to Montreal and Halifax and see him again at sea in the Great Lakes, this time in minor war vessels of the Royal Canadian Navy.
HMCS Cataraqui Reserve Unit
HMCS Donnacona Reserve Unit
HMCS Star Reserve Unit
HMCS Moose Fairmile (ex PTC 711, ex Q 111)
HMCS Scotian Reserve Unit
Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve)
While a fitters helper at Canadian Dredge and Dock in Kingston, Ontario, STUART was faced with the first of many of the personal challenges that life would present him. With the recent completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and large scale unemployment looming in the area, it would be his Father’s suggestion of commencing training in diesel mechanics that would lead to his return to home in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His training would take place at the newly formed St. John’s Vocational Institute on the Southside of the harbour, housed in an old wartime RCN building, and unknown to him at the time, it would be the start of a very long and fulfilling career as an engineer.
MV Swivel (Cargo Vessel), Fisheries Products International - 4th Engineer - Eastern Seaboard Atlantic CAN/USA
MV Blue Prince, Blue Peter Steamships - 3rd Engineer - Eastern Seaboard Atlantic CAN/USA
Ruston & Hornsby, Davey Paxman & Co. - Trainee (BMSA) - Lincoln, UK
MV Nonia, Canadian National Railways - 3rd Engineer - UK to Eastern Seaboard NFLD/NS
Blackstone Engineering, Hindinarch, Doxford Engines - Improved Trainee (BMSA) - Stamford, UK
MV William Carson, Canadian National Railways - 4th Engineer to Sr 3rd Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NFLD/NS
MV Hopedale, Canadian National Railways - 2nd Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NFLD/QUE/LAB/NS
MV Petit Forte, Canadian National Railways - 2nd Engineer - Eastern Seaboard Coastal/South NFLD
MV Nonia, Canadian National Railways - 2nd Engineer - Coastal NFLD
CCGS Montmorency, Buoy Tender/Light Ice Breaker - Chief Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NFLD
CCGS Bartlett, Medium Navaids Tender - A/Chief Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NFLD
CCGS Narwhal, Buoy Tender/Arctic Services - Chief Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NS/Arctic Services
CCGS Sir William Alexander, Major Navaids Tender/Light Icebreaker - Chief Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NS/Arctic Services
CCGS Daring, Coastal Patrol - Chief Engineer - Eastern Seaboard NS
Department of Transport - Ship Surveyor - Dartmouth, NS
Department of Public Works - Dredging Superintendent - Charlottetown, PEI
Department of Public Works - Regional Dredging Superintendent - Halifax, NS
Department of Fisheries - Regional Engineering Superintendent - Burlington, ON
Vessel/Establishment - Position - Location