Latham "Yogi" Jenson was HMCS ALGONQUIN'S Executive Officer during WWII. Today he is an accomplished Nova Scotia author and illustrator. His biography is best expressed from his latest book titled "Tin Hats, Oilskins and Seaboots" which was released in June 2000.
L. B. Jenson was born in Calgary in 1921. As a boy growing up on the Prairies in the Depression, he dreamed of going to sea, became a sea cadet at HMCS Undaunted in Calgary, and in 1938 joined the Royal Canadian Navy as an officer cadet, training with the Royal Navy in Britain until 1941. His wartime service began on HMS Renown in the South Atlantic, searching for the Graf Spee, and off Norway engaging the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. He lost all his possessions when Renown was damaged by shellfire. He served on HMS Matabele and HMS Hood, leaving that ship weeks before she was sunk with all lands in battle with the Bismarck.
Returning to Canada in late 1941, he was appointed to HMCS Ottawa, a destroyer on convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. A year later she was sunk with great loss of life in a battle with German submarines. Jenson was among the lucky ones plucked from the Atlantic by a British corvette. He joined HMCS Niagara as Executive Officer, and in late 1943 briefly commanded the corvette Long Branch before going on to the destroyer HMCS Algonquin as Executive Officer, taking part in raids on German ships, including the Tirpitz and being one of the first ships open fire on the shore defences in the invasion of Normandy. Algonquin completed the war raiding German shipping and escorting Allied convoys to Murmansk.
After the war, Latham served on shore at the Naval College, Royal Roads, at HMCS Stadacona, at the NATO Defence College in Paris and in naval intelligence, and at sea in HMCS Cayuga, and later in command of Crusader, Micmac, Fort Erie, and the 7th Escort Squadron. Upon retirement from the navy, Commander Jenson settled in Nova Scotia and returned to his interest in pen and ink drawing, illustrating a number of much loved books, including Vanishing Halifax, Nova Scotia Sketchbook and Saga of the Great Fishing Schooners. As Vice-President of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, he took part in a campaign to stop the demolition of historic waterfront buildings in Halifax and prepared conceptual drawings for the developers of the restored waterfront. He was a member of the board of governors of the first Schooner Bluenose Foundation and served more than 22 years on the board of the Nova Scotia Museum and more recently as chairman of the advisory council of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. In this capacity he instigated the acquisition of HMCS Sackville, the last corvette remaining from the Second World War and its restoration to its wartime configuration as a naval memorial to those who fought and won the Battle of the Atlantic.
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