Major Charles Grenier-Chalifoux
My grandfather, Roland Chalifoux, served on His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Milltown, a Bangor-class minesweeper from 1942 to 1945 as a Signalman. HMCS Milltown was part of the 31st Minesweeper Flotilla which served in the Battle of the Atlantic, Battle of the St. Lawrence and the invasion of Normandy. As part of his service, he received the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star, the France-Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal. In 2014, he was admitted as a Knight of the French Légion d’Honneur for his service during D-Day and the liberation of France.
HMCS Milltown contributed to the Battle of the Atlantic in her role as an escort vessel for the numerous convoys from North American ports like New York or Halifax all the way to England. As a Signalman, my grandfather was responsible for ensuring visual communication between ships when sailing in formation using light signals, flags and pennants.
When under attack, Roland would operate an Oerlikon 20mm anti-air canon. He also actively volunteered for other duties when his shipmates were injured or sick. As such, he at times sacrificed his rest time to take the role of helmsman or Very High Frequency radio operator.
He had one brother who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was based in Halifax. Communication between my grandfather and his family was very limited during the battle because his ship was constantly deployed on operation, but his three…