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Former St. Lawrence mayor pens first book

Wayde Rowsell, left, with Joseph Vendola, who was at that time the last survivor from USS Truxtun. Vendola has since passed away. CONTRIBUTED
Wayde Rowsell, left, with Joseph Vendola, who was at that time the last survivor from USS Truxtun. Vendola has since passed away. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed

Waves of Courage offers another perspective on Truxton and Pollux disaster

ST. LAWRENCE, N.L. —

Former St. Lawrence mayor Wayde Rowsell attended many events to remember the 203 sailors who died when the USS Truxton and Pollux ran aground of the community shores of St. Lawrence and Lawn on Feb. 18, 1942. 

Rowsell told The Southern Gazette on Monday, Nov. 25 he was present when the new USS Truxtun was christened at the NGSS Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi on June 2, 2007.   

Now he's sharing his personal experience, as well as stories he has heard from people who were impacted by the disaster, in his self-published book, Waves of Courage: A WW2 True Story of Valor, Compassion & Sacrifice.  

“It’s a true story of the valor certainly of local people in the rescue of American seamen. It’s a story of family members returning to the communities of St. Lawrence and Lawn. It’s a story that details really the shipwreck, the deployment of ships, the recovery (and) the response from the naval base at Argentia.” 

Rowsell explained he was able to include information in his book that hasn’t been published in other works. 

“There was very little reference to the American response from the naval base at Argentia, so that’s included. The naval achieves had been locked for 50 years, so really there’s tidbits of information that wasn’t documented (publicly) before, that’s documented in this book.” 

Rowsell explained he decided to write this book after being encouraged by others in the town. 

He got to work on it once he finished his term with St. Lawrence in the fall of 2013. 

During his five terms as mayor Rowsell developed a connection with the families of the American sailors and has shared some unique experiences with those families. 

One experience stands out in his mind. “An invitation I had (to attend) the National Building Museum in Washington, DC when Dr. Lanier Phillips received the Lone Sailor Award. To listen to Lanier Phillips talk about his experiences during the rescue and certainly (his) time here in the community and his regards for the people that were involved in the rescue effort was quite touching.” 

Rowsell's book is available on Amazon.   
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1999069706/ref=rdr_ext_tmb. 

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