Well Remembered Glaswegian Chief
Most of the thousands of prairie sailors who passed over the brow of HMCS CHIPPAWA during the early 1940s wouldn’t remember who Petty Officer Thomas A. MacKay was. If you happened to mention the “Chief” or “Pop”, the memory of the distinctive burr of a Glaswegian accent barking orders would come flooding back.
Originally a boy seaman with the Royal Navy in 1916, Pop served in HMS City of London, and HMS Marlborough at the tender age of 14. In the City of London the Chief saw many weary months of convoy duty including many which helped ferry US Troops to France. While serving in the Marlborough, Pop saw action in the Black Sea and the Dardanelles.
In 1923 Pop left the RN and headed for Canada. On his way to a promised job in Trail B.C., Pop stopped in Winnipeg and never left. A position with the CNR kept the Chief busy for twenty years until he enrolled in the Naval Reserve and the Navy for the second time when World War II broke out. At the outbreak of war, Pop headed for the old “Stone Frigate” on Ellice Avenue and became an instructor. Following a one month special course in Toronto, Pop MacKay returned as The Winnipeg Division’s Chief Instructor in 1942 where he remained for many years. Between the soccer pitch (Fort Rouge Rangers) and the hockey rink, the Chief was a permanent fixture on the streets of Winnipeg.
After the war Pop MacKay returned to the CNR where he was employed for 30 more years until retirement in 1974. Three years after retiring, on February 20, 1977, Tom “Pop” MacKay passed away.
It was from Pop’s well kept scrapbook that many of the news articles found in this section were taken. Thank’s for helping us keep the old memories alive Pop!