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Cecil D.Kenny

Started in 1934 - Retired in 1977

 

 

Passed Away in 1998 - Scroll Down for Obituary  

Décès en 1998 - Avis de décès au bas de la page  

 

 

We are grateful to Cecil's daugther Catherine for these notes and photographs which were adapted , including his own lines, excerpted from a departmental publication.... Laval, Sept 2009

 

 

Cecil was born on August 26,1912 in Sheet Harbor, Nova Scotia. Of ten children, he was the son of Calvin David Kenney and Annie Marie Fahie. They moved to Halifax, to Louisburg, Sydney and Grand Pré. Calvin was a ship’s captain, leaving Annie to raise the family.

 

Cecil attended Radio school in Halifax, and got his sparks license, 2nd class and 1st class. He joined the RCMP and, in 1934, was a radio operator aboard the cutter 'Fleur de Lys ' , involved in decoding messages from the rum-runners . - That story is below - . Cecil wrote that in 1939, he was transferred ashore and carried a one-man monitoring and cryptanalysis bureau from his home in Halifax.

 

With the outbreak of war, he went with the Federal Government.  He spent time at Hartlen Point. (the monitoring station). Was it when he was there listening to ships and subs  that, in December of 1939, he was able to copy a transmission from the German pocket cruiser Admiral Graf Spee ? During the war, all monitoring stations were deeply involved in listening for German subs and raiders. He also spent a year on Belle Isle, 1942-43, at the coast station.

 

In l945, life returned to normal. He and the family spent 1950-51 on St. Paul Island, off Cape Breton. Then he transferred to St. John's, Nfld and from there, in l954, the family moved to Ottawa, with the Dept. of Transport, where he wrote regulations for telecommunication.

 

Cecil retired in 1977. He and Frances travelled to Europe and spent time in Nova Scotia. Cecil had 4 children, David, born in 1939, Catherine, born in 194l and Jean, born in 1947.

 

He passed away Dec. 24, 1998 in Ottawa. He left 11 grandchildren. Later l3 great-grandchildren were born. Frances followed on Mar. 29, 2005 in ' Ottawa. They both are buried in Wolfville, NS.

 

 

Joe McPherson recalls of Cec Kenny ( Jan. 2006 )

 

Because of the time frame in which I knew Cec, the following may or may not be on much use to you. I did not know Cecil until 1970 which is long after he would have been at Hartlen Point.

 

This may help to understand my connection with Cec Kenny - a man I both respected and admired as a co-worker and a good personal friend.

 

In January 1970 I came back to Canada and worked for External Affairs until December when I won a competition to work as an Administrative Officer in the Department of Communications. One of the interviewers was none other than Cecil Kenny, who was then Head of Radio Regulations under Al Hewitt (another ex-RCMP Marine Communicator - now living near Toronto. He in turn worked for a Ted Argue who reported to the Director General, none other than our own Bill Wilson - VE3NR I believe.

 

In any case, I did not work directly for Cecil but for his opposite number in the Policy section - another ham - deceased about three years now - George Guy - . George was a Newfoundlander who had also been an RCMP Marine Telecoms man. I did however, work in the same office as Cecil - separated by an office divider. Cecil was then the main radio regulations writer and had been for some years before when he worked for the Telecom Branch of DOT which became DOC in 1969.

 

Again, although I did not work directly for Cec., he used me as a "sounding board" for new regulations he was developing. He would come to my desk - chewing on a cigar that was only lit 10% of the time and ask me how I would interpret certain wording that he was using. We would discuss a single paragraph for half an hour at a time until Cec - a true perfectionist - was happy that whatever he was writing could only be interpreted one way.

 

Cecil related the stories about his days both at sea and in an attic somewhere out around Lawrencetown as I recall. He told me that an RCMP motorcycle fellow would deliver him the nightly intercepts and he would - with much effort and diligence, decipher the rum-runners code. George Guy told me similar stuff about his adventures with the rum-runners. Both Cec and George graduated from a Halifax Radio School and it seems that at the time there were TWO career paths - into the RCMP where they earned "peanuts" or with the rumrunners where the pay was far better.

Sometime around 1976 or so, Cec moved to what was then called the National Branch but I believe took the regulations portfolio with him. I used to see him quite often in the building and would have the occasional coffee with him, but kind of lost track after that. He had some heart problems (irregular heart beat) that put him out of commission a couple of times).

 

I found out that he was gone about a year after he had passed away. He must have had 46 - 47 years service I would guess. We all thought he would die at his desk.

 


p.s.  On the subject of rum running, ships and radio installations of those years, Spud Roscoe wrote some interesting chapters in his " Radio Stations Commons - not this kind " and some of it can be read at http://www.coastalradio.org.uk/spud/spud/spud06.pdf ( rum running is on page 26 ) 

 

Obituary

Cecil D.Kenny

August 26, 1912 - December 24, 1998

 

Related Links

Department of Transport (DOT) Picnic in 1954

 

1977 - DOC man broke rum runner's code

 

How it was before radar: Reminiscences of Cecil Kenny

 

Cecil Kenny's Photo Collection