The heroism of the late Leander Green, an Able Seaman who risked his life to save the lives of fellow sailors during the First World War, was celebrated in Ottawa on April 28, 2016, with the unveiling of a portrait bust in his honour.

Christian Corbet, the Royal Canadian Navy Sculptor-in-Residence, unveiled the portrait bust of Able Seaman Green during the annual Battle of the Atlantic Gala at the Canadian War Museum.

Able Seaman Green was serving in HMS Hilary, a Royal Navy Ship, when on the morning of January 1, 1914, the ship took a Norwegian barque, SS Maryetta, in tow after it had become dismasted. The next day, the SS Maryetta sent out distress signals. Maryetta had sprung a leak and was sinking and the crew immediately abandoned ship.

In the chaos caused by choppy seas and weather and darkness, the captain asked for volunteers from Hilary to jump into the water and bring a lifeline to the stricken merchantman. Able Seaman Green jumped into the water with a lifeline in his teeth, swam to the barque and enabled six members of the barque’s crew to reach Hilary. Nine souls from the Maryetta and two from Hilary were lost to the sea that day.

There is some confusion as to the true cause of the Maryetta’s sinking. According to The Book of Newfoundland, the Norwegian merchantman was not stricken in heavy weather but torpedoed by a German submarine and HMS Hilary rendered assistance.

Irrespective of the cause, the effect resulted in Green’s heroic action, and for that…

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