Bill Hall, a lifetime resident of the Campbell River area, was mate on the St. Roch during her Arctic patrol in 1945. Bill, who died in 1985, always regarded his Arctic experience as the greatest adventure of his life. The journal he kept of the trip is held in the Museum at Campbell River archives and extracts are quoted below.
Friday, August 3
Worked through heavy ice all day. At 4 p.m. ice became too heavy to work through. Secured to ground ice in ten fathoms. We are now about 215 miles west of Herschel Island.
Saturday, August 4
Proceeded all day through heavy ice. The ice to which we are secured is piled up in some places about fifty feet high. The cook, while getting ashore, fell part way into the water and dropped the skipper's .22. He was hanging on with his fingers and calling for help and Bill Cashin and I heard him and ran and pulled him out. We fished the gun up out of the water with hooks.
Monday, August 6
This morning a white fox came along the ice floe near the ship. It looked much like a small dog with a long tail.
Tuesday, August 7
We made ready to proceed at 6 p.m. but the ice is packed around the ship so hard we were unable to move after an hour of pushing and ramming, so had to tie up again. We are locked in tight now and will probably remain that way until a change of wind moves the ice and releases the pressure.
Wednesday, August 8
We are still beset in the ice, with a very cold wind blowing from the north. If the ice does not release us soon, we will have to try to free the vessel by blasting. We are all very tired of staying tied to this ice floe.
Thursday, August 9
A change of wind today. We were released from the ice and got under way at 4 p.m. At 5:30 we were unable to proceed further on account of heavy ice.
Saturday, August 11
Sighted Herschel Island at 4 p.m. and arrived at 10 pm. The natives were on the beach to meet us. The family we are to take with us is here. None of them speak much English. Although this used to be a large settlement, there are only a few families here now. The graves of eight whalers lost in a snowstorm in June several years ago are marked by crosses. They had been playing ball about half a mile from the settlement.
Tuesday, August 14
Picked up markers and anchored at Tuktoyaktuk at 9.30 p.m. after a run of 165 miles. Hudson Bay men and natives came aboard.
Saturday, August 18
Still at anchor. Waiting for upriver boat.
Friday, August 24
Cannot wait any long for upriver boat. Hired a gas boat and a small scow to unload thirty tons of coal Mounted Police supplies.