Allan Edward TUSTIAN

Male 1919 - 2019  (100 years)

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  • Name Allan Edward TUSTIAN 
    Born 22 Sep 1919 
    Gender Male 
    Died 4 Oct 2019 
    Buried 12 Oct 2019  Mindemoya Cemetery, Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I51045  Manitoulin Roots
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2019 

    Father Robert George TUSTIAN,   b. 7 Feb 1871, Richmond Hill, York County, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1956, Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Mother Mary Elizabeth FARQUHAR,   b. 3 Feb 1880, Billings Township, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Dec 1920, Gravenhurst, Muskoka District, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years) 
    Married 30 May 1900  Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Ontario Vital Records - Marriages # (number not visible)
      George Robert TUSTIAN, 29, farmer, born Ontario and Mary E. FARQUHAR, 20, born Ontario were married in 1900 on Manitoulin. Groom's Parents: George and Annie. Bride's Parents: William and Jane.
    Family ID F4144  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Living 
     1. Living
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    Last Modified 18 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F5778  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
      North Atlantic convoy vet receives Arctic Star
      MINDEMOYA - Allan and Alma Tustian were busy entertaining on their sunny back deck recently when this reporter popped by to snap a photo of Mr. Tustian for the cover of the new Big Red Phonebook (yes, it is coming) when he shared his latest hardware with his guests.
      "It just arrived," he smiles, charming as always.
      Disappearing to his room lined with merchant marine photos and acknowledgements for just about everything- from the Central Manitoulin Lions Club (Mr. Tustian is a charter member) to a lifesaving recognition from the 1940s- he reappears to show his guests the Arctic Star.
      The Arctic Star is a United Kingdom campaign medal, awarded to those who participated in any length of service above the Arctic Circle in either the Navy or the Armed Forces, specifically in the Arctic convoys of WWII.
      "You're running out of room, Allan, I don't know where you're going to put it," Alma Tustian says, pointing to her husband's Legion jacket brimming with medals.
      Mr. Tustian said he was alerted to the medal, which the United Kingdom announced in 2012, by R.L. Duane Duff, author of 'Waskesiu: Canada's First Frigate.' The nanogenarian was a radar operator, and a navigator yeoman, aboard the Waskesiu.
      "I wrote a letter to the British government and told them about my service," he explained. "I got a letter back saying that there were a lot of people sending for it, but two weeks later it arrived in the mail."
      Mr. Tustian explained that the Waskesiu was part of a convoy made up of five destroyers and frigates known collectively as the EG6. "We were supposed to just be hunting submarines, but just before D-Day we were designated to take a convoy into Murmansk, Russia," he said. Murmansk is the largest city above the Arctic Circle.
      Murmansk was a link to the West for Russia during WWII, with supplies for Russia's military efforts brought to the city through Arctic convoys.
      German forces in Finnish territory launched an offensive against the city in 1941 as part of Operation Silver Fox, and Murmansk suffered extensive destruction, the magnitude of which was rivaled only by the destruction of Leningrad and Stalingrad. However, fierce Soviet resistance and harsh local weather conditions prevented the Germans from capturing the city and cutting off the vital Karelian railway line and the ice-free harbour, according to one online source.
      For the rest of the war, Murmansk served as a transit point for weapons and other supplies entering the Soviet Union from other Allied nations. It was this resistance that was commemorated at the 40th anniversary of the victory over the Germans in the formal designation of Murmansk as a Hero City on May 6, 1985.
      "It was a dangerous trip, cold, and the submarines were pretty plentiful," Mr. Tustian allowed. "They (German submarines) were sinking ships the whole way up. We were taking equipment up to the Russians to beat the Nazis. The Allies brought oil, ships and gave them a cruiser (a type of warship)." As the crew of that cruiser didn't want to stick around above the Arctic Circle, they came back with the convoy.
      "We made the trip okay," he continued, "and spent 10 days in a little settlement just outside of Murmansk. It was just a little hamlet, like Mindemoya, with log houses and one brick building- the hospital."
      The sailors were warned upon arrival to stay away from the Russian women, as if they were caught fraternizing with the men, they would be quickly sent to the front lines as punishment.
      Mr. Tustian recalled exchanges with the Russian soldiers, including trading his wool sweater in exchange for a Russian knife. While stripping off his sweater, someone came upon the exchange, which made the Russians beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind the knife. Mr. Tustian got to keep both his sweater and the knife. The knife was eventually stolen from him, however. Another encounter saw himself and a fellow sailor taking a walk through the town. While cresting a hill, below them they saw a fearsome sight of miles of men marching. They guessed the men were prisoners and left before they were spotted.
      "It was an important thing that happened (the convoy) because the Russians were being beaten badly and needed our help," he added.
      Ten days later, the convoy left Murmansk, zigzagging as they went, being careful to never travel in a straight line to keep the submarines guessing.
      "We were almost torpedoed on the way home," Mr. Tustian explained. "The Germans had developed an acoustic torpedo that followed sound. The Canadians had developed a line, the catline, which was streamed 50 yards behind the Waskesiu that made more noise than a propeller."
      Within no time of using the new Canadian invention, the Germans found their 'target' and blew up the Waskesiu's catline. It had done its job.
      The Waskesiu then headed for Ireland, and then on to England where it anchored, waiting for the D-Day invasion. While in England, Mr. Tustian was late for an outing to shore with his shipmates, having to go in with the officers instead. Walking the beach by himself, he came across two sisters and their dog that was being swept away by the waves. Rescuing the dog, Mr. Tustian was immediately welcomed into their home where the sisters cooked for him and fussed over him "while the rest were getting drunk." He kept in touch with one of the sisters until her recent passing.
      When D-Day came, the Waskesiu lined up with other warships end to end in the Bay of Biscayne, preventing the Germans from getting through.
      The UK Arctic Star is actually Mr. Tustian's second acknowledgment of that convoy, having received the Russian Medal of Ushakov, that country's version of the Arctic Star some years earlier.
      Mr. Tustian served the longest period of his time in the Canadian Navy with the Waskesiu over any other vessel and the frigate holds a special place in his heart. The frigate also holds the special recognition of being the first Canadian vessel to sink a German submarine, with Mr. Tustian manning the radar at the time. All who could be rescued were taken aboard the Waskesiu and later transported to prisoner of war camps in Canada. Decades later, the Tustians and other Waskesiu veterans had the opportunity to meet one of those German prisoners of war at a reunion near Kingston.
      Alicia McCutcheon

      Facebook post to CBC Fan Club, Unabashedly Unofficial. Lovinglly maintained by Tod Maffin
      I recently read the memoir's of a 95 year old living WWII RCN war hero.Mr Allan Tustian resides on the Manitoulin Island with his wife Alma in Mindemoya enjoying their golden years. Mr. Tustians memoir begins in 1927 when Allan went to live with his sister after the passing of his mother. The story continues with Allan's service to the RCN between 1942 thru 1945, included is his prior move to Toronto which lead up to his future endeavor on the high sea's of the North Atlantic. This would make a great documentary for Remembrance Day programing 2014..Let's never forget our living hero's who are able to narrate their own story to our grateful nation. I do have his memoir's in PDF for your review and consideration.
      Best Regards Jamie Smeltzer

      Manitoulin Expositor, August 3, 2016
      Billing's History Day features the stories of the Franklin Expedition and Allan Tustian
      KAGAWONG - The Billings Heritage Museum's popular History Day is coming fast upon us, and this year the main attraction is the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and the recent discovery by a Canadian diving team of the wreck of the Erebus, flagship of famed arctic explorer Captain Sir John Franklin, but as has been the tradition of History Day, there is an added bonus with the presentation of a locally produced documentary on the military career of Mindemoya's Allan Tustian.
      "The fate of the Franklin Expedition is the Holy Grail of the Canadian arctic and the search for the Northwest Passage and remains one of the most enduring mysteries of Canada's far North," said Old Mill Heritage Centre curator Rick Nelson. "We originally wanted to pair this presentation with the one on LaSalle's Griffon that we presented at last year's History Night, but unfortunately scheduling conflicts made that impossible."
      The Franklin expedition departed England on the morning of May 19, 1845 in two state-of-the-art reinforced hull steam driven ships with a crew complement of 24 officers and 110 men - all of whom disappeared into the arctic mists, leaving only a few cannibalized bones behind to compound the mystery. Despite numerous rescue and recovery expeditions fueled by what was at the time an unimaginably immense reward, little more was known about the fate of the expedition'97but on September 9, 2014 the Canadian Victoria Strait Expedition discovered the wreck of the HMS Erebus and with it a wealth of new information about the Franklin Expedition.
      Marty Magne, director with the Archaeology and History Branch of Parks Canada, is an expert on the find who will be coming to give a presentation on the Victoria Strait Expedition and the Franklin Expedition. Mr. Magne has been delivering such presentations on the discovery of the ship and the Franklin Expedition and the question and answer session following the presentation promises to be very informative.
      Following a short intermission after Mr. Magne's presentation, the History Night crowd will be treated to a documentary on the naval career of Manitoulin's own Allan Tustian.
      "We filmed the documentary a few years ago," said Mr. Nelson. "We have ran the documentary here in the museum but it has never really had a public viewing. It's a slick documentary presentation with accompanying photos of the WWII era. It is a well put together presentation of his naval career."
      Mr. Tustian survived a buzz bomb attack in London, England, helped keep the channel clear during the D-Day invasion and took part in the pursuit of many U-boats. "He was one of the very first radar technicians," said Mr. Nelson. "Radar was very new at the time and he was one of the first to use it on a ship."
      History Day will take place at the Kagawong Park Centre on August 11, with a 3:30 pm matinee and a 7:30 pm evening show. The program is sponsored in part by Manitoulin Transport. Although free, a charitable donation to the museum is gratefully encouraged.

      Manitoulin Expositor, October 10, 2018
      Many happy returns, Allan
      Mindemoya's Allan Tustian celebrated his 99th birthday on September 22 surrounded by family and friends at his Lake Mindemoya. The beloved World War II veteran is pictured with his first cousin Repha Van Horn, 92.

      Obituary, Manitoulin Expositor, October 9, 2019
      Allan Edward Tustian passed away peacefully on Friday October 4, 2019 in his 101st year. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 69 years, Alma (Smeltzer) Tustian. Loving father of Marilyn (Stephen) Hill, Michael (Lynda), Mark (Donna), Doug (Crystal), Jeanne (Marc) Lefebvre, John (Vannetta). He will be forever remembered by his 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Also remembered by his many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Predeceased by his father Robert George Tustian and mother Mary Elizabeth Farquhar and siblings Elmer (Maxine), Jean (Joe) Hodgson, Bill (Ruth), Orval (Eva), Mary (Owen) Boyle. Allan spent most of his life on Lake Mindemoya and it was little wonder when his time came to serve his country in World War II he chose the Navy. He was on active service with the Royal Canadian Navy from August 5, 1941-October 1, 1945. He served on three RCN warships-a destroyer, a Corvette and a Frigate –on escort for 43 convoys in the Battle of the Atlantic. Allan returned to Manitoulin Island, Lake Mindemoya and Treasure Island. It was on Treasure Island that he met his future wife, Alma Smeltzer. In the early 60s they purchased Pirate’s Cove Cottages and operated their own resort until 1991. Community service was important to him. Over his lifetime he was President of the Central Manitoulin Lion’s Club, member of Little Current Legion Branch #177, Past Master of Masonic Lodge, member of the Haweater Shriners, President of Manitoulin Tourist Association, and Rainbow Country Association and Reeve of Carnarvon Township. He was a founding member of the Manitoulin-Northshore Navy Veterans Association and was instrumental in the construction of the Manitoulin Cenotaph. Besides his wife, family and friends the other loves of his life were fishing, hunting, golfing, curling, swimming and coaching hockey. Never happier than when he was surrounded by friends and family (the more, the merrier!) he had an incredible ability to put anyone at ease in any situation and to make every person in the room feel special and interesting. He will forever be remembered for his infectious laugh, his unending curiosity and his deep and abiding joy in life. Rest in peace Allan, Dad, Grandpa we miss you already. Friends will be received at Trinity United Church, Mindemoya on Friday October 11, 2019 from 2 pm to 4 pm and 7 pm to 9 pm, where a service of Celebration will be held on Saturday at 11 am. Interment to follow at Mindemoya Cemetery. In remembrance, donations to the Mindemoya Hospital Auxiliary or Trinity United Church Accessibility Fund, and may be made through

      Tombstone Photo
      Mindemoya Cemetery
      Tustian / Allan Edward / Sept. 22. 1919 / Alma Marion / (Smeltzer) / Aug. 7, 1929