By Joyce Barkhouse
"Twelve months in anyplace, my good friend, is sort of a weary whereas And turns out extra like a century whilst lived on Sable Isle ..."
So wrote Thomas Raddall on the age of eighteen, no longer dreaming that decades later Sable Island -- that "hell in the world" -- would supply a romantic heritage for one among his maximum novels, The Nymph and the Lamp.
Traumatized via the horror of the nice Halifax Explosion of 1917, in a number of months by means of the demise of his father in conflict abroad, Tom was once pressured to go away institution on the age of fourteen.
This short account of his lifestyles tells of his early adventures and of the way he turned certainly one of Canada's most famed storytellers.
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Extra resources for A Name for Himself. A Biography of Thomas Head Raddall
He had disappeared before the police arrived. The captain was taken to a hospital. A new captain was appointed, likable Big Dan Macdonald, but within a month Tom was relieved of his arduous duties aboard the Watuka. After a short stint ashore at North Sydney, he was posted to a cable-repair ship. Life aboard the Mackay-Bennett was pleasant compared to the grim experience of the Watuka. Still, the business of mending cables lying at the bottom of the ocean was cold, rough, dirty work, and meant long months at sea at a stretch.
The Raddalls could take very few of their possessions with them, but Tom rejoiced as he helped to pack all the books from their library. His heart sank, however, as he watched their big, old walnut piano with swinging brass candle-brackets on each side of the music rack, being crated and boxed. He hated the piano and he hated his father for forcing him to take lessons. Music was one of his father’s great pleasures. He loved to sing and put on amateur entertainments. Tom was musical, too, but his fingers weren’t long enough and his square hands weren’t the right shape to make a really good pianist.
Courtesy CN Historical Services) The house flag of the Canadian Government Merchant Marine Ltd. c. 1920. The flag was 12ft. x 6ft. The design consisted of a Greek Cross in blue on a white ground. A yellow anchor was shown on the centre ball, and the Canadian heaver was displayed in the upper staff quarter. Because of a new law, all the “Rat” ships needed wireless operators, familiarly known as Sparks or Brasspounders, and Tom couldn’t wait to get aboard. Early in the spring of 1919 he took his examinations.
A Name for Himself. A Biography of Thomas Head Raddall by Joyce Barkhouse