My Dad, G.A. "Duke" Coutanche, married
Margaret Ellen Bellamy in Rivers, Manitoba in 1939. They had four
children: Guy C. 1941, Melvyn D 1943, G. John 1945, and Wendy E. E.
1954. My Dad died in 1980 in Thunder Bay, Ontario where the Monitoring
Station had relocated with him as OIC from
Winnipeg in 1958, due to radio
electrical interference. The newly urbanized City of Winnipeg was making
monitoring of radio/tv signals difficult. After his retirement, he took
up a ham radio ticket again and was delighted that his new call sign was
VE3AHC, the initials of his father Alfred Henry, who died in the British
Army in Thesalonika in WW1.
My father took the nickname Duke when he
worked as a radio operator in forestry Camp Swain Lake in northwestern
Ontario in the 1930s. I have a picture of him visually showing the
reason he took the name Duke. One of the workers in the camp saw him in
tennis whites in a Beret and said to him “what do you think you are?
Some kind of a (expletive) Duke?”
My Dad's actual name was Gladwin Alfred
Coutanche so he signed his name G.A.”Duke” Coutanche for the rest of
his life. I have a picture of him at his radio station in Swain with his
ham ticket prominently displayed on the wall as well.
He was written up in the papers in 1934 for
his heroic role in radioing for a rescue plane for a guy who needed
surgery in a hurry. Dad got on VE3BO and got thru to somebody in Thunder
Bay to have them send a plane to pick up this poor fella. Here is a
reproduction of that article.
I recall Dad talking about
It’s interesting to note that he’s from another of the channel Islands.
My father was a Jersaise, St Helier, Jersey. I think that
Charlie Custance (sp) worked with Dad
in Winnipeg but he is not related as far as we recall.
I am glad I stumbled across this site while
looking for references to the Forrest Manitoba radio monitoring station.
Our mother was from Rivers Manitoba. My dad met her when he was working
for the Department of Fisheries, I guess it was the name at the time, and I
thought it was in Forrest; maybe it was Rivers. Anyhow good times. Dad
infected me with interest in radio and I ended up working for CBC radio
for a bunch of years.
5 July 2020