G.A. " Duke " Coutanche

Was the first OIC at the Rivers Manitoba Monitoring Station

 

Passed Away in 1980

Décès en 1980

 

My Dad, G.A. "Duke" Coutanche, married Margaret Ellen Bellamy in Rivers, Manitoba in 1939. They had four children: Guy C. 1941, Melvyn D 1943, G. John 1945, and Wendy E. E. 1954. My Dad died in 1980 in Thunder Bay, Ontario where the Monitoring Station had relocated with him as OIC from Winnipeg in 1958, due to radio electrical interference. The newly urbanized City of Winnipeg was making monitoring of radio/tv signals difficult. After his retirement, he took up a ham radio ticket again and was delighted that his new call sign was VE3AHC, the initials of his father Alfred Henry, who died in the British Army in Thesalonika in WW1.  

My father took the nickname Duke when he worked as a radio operator in forestry Camp Swain Lake  in northwestern Ontario in the 1930s.  I have a picture of him visually showing the reason he took the name Duke. One of the workers in the camp saw him in tennis whites in a Beret and said to him “what do you think you are? Some kind of a (expletive)  Duke?”

My Dad's actual name was Gladwin Alfred Coutanche so he signed his name G.A.”Duke” Coutanche  for the rest of his life. I have a picture of him at his radio station in Swain with his ham ticket prominently displayed on the wall as well.

He was  written up in the papers in 1934 for his heroic role in radioing  for a rescue plane for a guy who needed surgery in a hurry. Dad got on VE3BO and got thru to somebody in Thunder Bay to have them send a plane to pick up this poor fella. Here is a reproduction of that article.

 

I recall Dad talking about Ed Davey. It’s interesting to note that he’s from another of the channel Islands. My father was a Jersaise, St Helier, Jersey.  I think that Charlie Custance (sp) worked with Dad in Winnipeg but he is not related as far as we recall. 

 

I am glad I stumbled across this site while looking for references to the Forrest Manitoba radio monitoring station. Our mother  was from Rivers Manitoba. My dad met her when he was working for the Department of Fisheries, I guess it was the name at the time, and I thought it was in Forrest; maybe it was Rivers.  Anyhow good times.  Dad infected me with interest in radio and I ended up working for CBC radio for a bunch of years.

John Coutanche

5 July 2020

Links   -   Liens

1934 - Man's Life Saved by Alert Wireless Fans

1967 - Early Monitoring in Canada  -  A report from Ed Davey

Rivers - Forrest - Winnipeg Monitoring Stations

Lorne Greenwood mentions Duke Coutanche

Al Wastle mentions Duke Coutanche