Joe Duffy was born January 1, 1922 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He grew up there in a large working class family, against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the emerging war. Joe joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1941: it was the “thing to do”, as he and many other veterans have noted. Joe went for training in Nova Scotia and Ontario, and in short he was assigned to the HMCS Nipigon, a minesweeper that also did convoy duty in the north Atlantic. Joe began doing convoys, usually on the Triangle Route where the RCN would take convoys halfway across the Atlantic, where The Royal Navy would meet them and take the convoy the rest of the way. Joe dealt with the fear of U-boats, the weather, the cramped conditions, the ice, and the monotony. All the while he performed a critical duty for Canada and the Allies: he kept those critical supply lines across the Atlantic open, and he took the fight to the Germans. When VE Day came, Joe was in Halifax, ordered to stay aboard the ship while the riots ran their course. The war over, Joe chose to remain in the navy; he served on a succession of ships during the Cold War years of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s he was part of the International Control Commission, the United Nations task force that tried to keep the peace in the troubled region of Indochina. Joe Duffy was interviewed in March 2023 at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing.
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