Essays

A Wren's Story

Margaret Haliburton (Née Margaret Los).

By Margaret Haliburton (Wren Tel (SO) Margaret Los)

Trained as a High Frequency Radio Operator (referred to as 'Huff Duff'), I was stationed at Coverdale Radio Station. This was located across the Pedacodiac River from Moncton NB, just outside of the village of Gunningsville.

On this particular day I was on the day shift (0900 to 1600), nothing unusual was happening, just another day of searching - searching - searching for German Submarine transmissions. Conversation consisted of desultory comments and the usual complaints, when suddenly - the air came alive.

Copying madly we realized something very unusual was happening. All of us were receiving the same message. Messages always came on different frequencies and by different operators. Another troubling aspect, instead of the usual four-letter space, four-letter space transmission the operator was sending large groups of letters. I realized it was plain language and was having trouble getting used to the rhythm and the length of the words. (Germans seem to love compound words.)

To add to the difficulty- the atmospherics were not the best. Suddenly one of the girls shouted “Hitler's dead! - Hitler's dead!” She came from the Kitchener area and could read German. Great excitement and cheering ensued and we lost some of the message. We realized that we and other radio operators were the first to know this important news. The powers that be could not be informed until some operator forwarded the message.

Margaret Haliburton

The message that Hitler was dead, taken by Margaret (Los) Haliburton.