Anthony J. L. Morency
Tank and Tractor
Born Antoine Joseph Leo Morency,
Anthony Morency sailed to Antarctica
on the USMS North Star and proved to
be helpful beyond his intended role as tank and tractor driver. The North
Star made a number of stops along the journey to Antarctica. Upon anchoring at Pitcairn
Island expedition members and the ships’ crew became acquainted
with direct descendants of the HMS
Bounty’s Fletcher Christian.
Personnel provided medical assistance and basic food supplies to the
islanders. The next stop was Rapa Island,
a thousand miles WSW of Pitcairn.
The islanders were French-speaking and no one on the North Star spoke French---except Anthony
Morency, who knew a few French words---very few,
actually. Because none of the island’s
radios were in working order, the governor of this French colony was unaware
that his country was at war. Several
months had passed since a ship had stopped at Rapa Island,
resulting in a lack of news and mail.
With Morency’s limited French vocabulary, he
and the governor exchanged information by waving their arms, pointing, and
performing all manner of gesticulations.
Later, in Antarctica, Morency tried skiing for the first time. He fell several times but kept trying. On what would be his final attempt, Morency gathered too much speed, took a hard fall, and was
carried into Dr. Sims’ clinic. His left
fibula was fractured. Dr. Sims, with the
company of several onlookers, placed Morency’s left
leg in a cast. As all incidents of this
nature had to be reported to the Executive Committee in Washington, base
commander Richard Black filed his report.
As a thoughtful son, Morency requested that
his mother, Mrs. Virginia Morency, not be notified of
Anthony J. L. Morency was born in Manville, Rhode
Island, on June 28, 1906. Morency’s parents were Leon and Eugenie Morency,
French-Canadian immigrants to the U.S. Leon Morency was a
store clerk who later became a stonemason.
After their move to the US,
Eugenie Morency changed her first name to Virginia.
Antarctic Service Medal Gold
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