Page 6

A4

THE VANCOUVER COURIER FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011

cover

As war loomed, Kitsilano students marched and took rifle practice

Teenager joined navy to battle Germans on the high seas Ted Hunt Contributing writer

T

ed Pratt greets you at his door with a wide-smile and firm handshake. Blue eyes lock on you with a look of genuine interest. If you think you were facing a salesman, you’d be only half-right, because there is a natural honesty within, and a serious side for sure. He was born Aug. 31,1924 after being rushed to hospital from his grandparents’ home near Crescent Beach. Mother Beatrice caused a sensation at the dinner table by announcing labour pains, and father, Arthur, took charge. Pratt laughs, proudly showing his family ring passed on from grandfather, to father, to son. Set on a field of gold, a lancer charges a dragon. The Boer War inscription reads: “Edward Pratt. St. George’s Rifles April 24, 1889.” By 1938, Pratt played basketball at Kitsilano secondary at a time when everyone recognized that war with Germany was inevitable. Kits introduced marching and rifle practice in the basement. Students, with detentions were

Ted Pratt traversed the Atlantic on the HMCS Poundmaker, with her two large cannons and anti-aircraft guns. photo courtesy Ted Pratt given target cards. Many years later when “militarism” was removed from the curriculum, Pratt learned that teachers received 10 cents for each card turned in. During the Depression, those dimes were welcomed extra income. Lord Strathcona, the railroad magnate, wanted Canadian support for Britain, seeking “young men who sit tall in the saddle.” However, as Pratt developed his strong interest in the sea cadets at HMCS

Discovery in Stanley Park, there’d be no saddle for him. He continued navy training even when he moved back to Lord Byng for his senior grades, there discovering Canadian football. “I’ll never forget facing my old school for a football game where the newspaper predicted that ‘Kitsilano High would whip Lord Byng handily.’ It occurred to me that they might just do that because we hadn’t won a game all

season. But damned if I didn’t catch a long pass at Athletic Park and ran as fast as I could in the mud to score our only touchdown. We lost 35 to seven, but I hadn’t disgraced myself.” Pratt’s face lights up at the memory and he pulls out well-preserved press clippings and photos of teenagers of the late 1930s full of the joy of life. The enthusiasm continues as he speaks of high school clubs, dances and close games, with more girls’ names recounted by this tall young man with the wavy hair and ready smile. His graduation photo describes Ted Pratt as, “An officer in the Naval Cadets. A member of the Monitors Club. Good in all sports. Plays Senior Canadian football.”

I

n the fall of 1942, Pratt registered at UBC. “But after a couple of months it was time for me to enlist, so I signed up at age 18.” Pratt grows quiet at this point in our conversation. A change has come over him. No more enthusiastic stories or wide grins. Questions are left hanging—or he answers in a business-like man-

ner without detail. “The war was going badly,” he recalls. “I signed up at Discovery and left for training at Regina.” Acknowledging the insanity of a naval training centre on Canada’s great central plain, he says: “I was a navy guy. I did what I was told.” Asked about leaving his family: “My sister, Phyllis, was a nurse. We never talked about the war too much.” Lt. Pratt received more training aboard HMCS Prevost on Lake Erie. “Then to Halifax and Naval College for prospective officers, where they zipped us through onto a real ocean to train on a real ship, the HMCS Renard”. In what is by now a steady stream of guarded statements, Pratt says quietly, “Subs were sinking ships. It was found that torpedoes were attracted to the sound of propellers. So we were sent out to test certain things. Like a cable with a device producing a loud version of a ship’s screws.” After a long pause he ends the conversation with the cryptic observation: “It worked. Subs shot at it.” Continued on page 5

Final Clearance on all 2011 Sprinters Last chance to get into a 2011 Sprinter with all currently installed options FREE of charge. †

pg 4 final Sprinter Sales and Service Centre 1502 Boundary Rd., Burnaby, BC

With best-in-class cargo capacity and payload, best interior standing height, a maximum side and rear door opening and best-in-class fuel efficiency compliments of our BlueTEC V6 diesel engine, the Sprinter has everything you need, for whatever you need it for.

FREE OPTIONS

EVENT

2011 2500 SPRINTER TOTAL PRICE $46,415** FINANCE APR

4.9%

*

60 MONTHS

LEASE APR

LEASE PAYMENT

60 MONTHS

$6,435 DOWN

5.49%*

$545*

**Total price of includes MSRP of $42,900, Freight/PDI of $2,995, Dealer Admin Fee of $395, air conditioning levy of $100 and $25 fee covering EHF tires. HST extra.

604-331-BENZ (2369) mbvancouver.ca

© 2011 Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. †Free of change options currently installed on all 2011 inventory models range from $3,000 to $10,000. *Lease and finance offers based on the 2011 2500 Sprinter available only through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services on approved credit for a limited time. Lease example based on $545 (excluding taxes) per month for 60 months. Down payment or equivalent trade of $6,435 plus security deposit of $600 and applicable taxes due at lease inception. MSRP starting at $42,900. A.P.R of 5.49%. Total obligation is $48,014. Finance rates starting at 4.9%. MSRP for 2011 Sprinters starting at $42,900. **Total price of $46,415 includes MSRP of $42,900, Freight/PDI of $2,995, Dealer Admin Fee of $395, air conditioning levy of $100 and $25 fee covering EHF tires. HST extra. Licence, insurance, registration, “green” levy taxes (if applicable), fees levied on the manufacturer (if charged by the dealer) and PPSA are extra. Dealer may lease or finance for less. Offers may change without notice and cannot be combined with any other offers. See your authourized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealer for details. Offers end November 30, 2011.

Vancouver Courier November 4 2011  
Vancouver Courier November 4 2011  

Vancouver Courier November 4 2011

Advertisement