Napanee, Ontario, artist Sherry Pringle, resides beside the quiet Napanee River where the story of her young uncle, Maurice Waitson, unfolds. As a post-war child she was mesmerized by photo images and letters home that her family kept in an old album.
Thus, her journey to discover the life and death of her uncle on board the tribal destroyer HMCS Athabaskan during WWII was sparked. Her trek led her into the fold of the Athabaskan family network.
In 2003 she and her husband Larry travelled to Brest, France to be present at the filming of a documentary titled “The Mysterious Sinking of HMCS Athabaskan”.
Trying to find a way to memorialize the ship and her crew, Pringle resorted to her painting skills. The result was a painting of the ship titled “Channel Patrol” which was sent to the military museum of Fort Montbarey in Brest, where it was permanently hung in memory of the tribal warrior and her crew.
Sherry thought her journey of discovery was over until a phone conversation sparked her determination to capture the individual stories of the sailors on board Canada’s destroyer before they are lost.
The result of her personal interviews is a book titled “All The Ship’s Men” HMCS Athabaskan’s Untold Stories, published by Vanwell.
This past 22nd of May, Sherry unveiled her new book at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseilles-sur-Mer,France, along with a new display for the museum on HMCS Athabaskan. Weeks later, the Canadian Navy hosted her official book launch on board the flight deck of the current HMCS Athabaskan in Halifax.
On August 6th, 2010 Sherry was awarded the prestigious “Beaver Award” for her work in recording the personal stories of the sailors involved in the largest Canadian Naval disaster due to “surface action.”