Philip (Phil) Barteaux Rafuse

Was a Radio Operator in the Arctic

Served as a Radio Operator on Gypsum Ships out of Hantsport, Nova Scotia

Served as a Radio Operator aboard Canadian Hydrogrphic Vessels



Passed Away in 2005 - Scroll Down for Obituary  

Décès en 2005 - Avis de décès au bas de la page  



About Phil Rafuse

It started with a son searching for his old man brass pounder in February 2016


I found your site after a Google search, when I read that (who knew) today, Feb 13 was International Radio day. My father, Philip Rafuse, was an Arctic and Marine wireless operator for many years. Wondering if there is a way to see if anyone in your community may have known him. Any assistance appreciated.

John Rafuse (JMR)

Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia



I note that we have a Eileen Rafuse in Roll Call but no Philip Rafuse. I am forwarding your message to Laval Desbiens and John Gilbert who might have known your father. They might be able to assist you.

Best regards

Donald Courcy , VE1CG

Halifax, Nova Scotia

History Keeper and Webmaster -



Hello John.

I have gathered many of the radio operator names on the site. Most of my inputs to the list were taken from the radio amateur call books prior to about 1970. I only found those that had DOT addresses, so if the operator served at a major site where there were civilian housing (with a personal home address) I would not find them unless I knew them personally. Most people would expect there to be a list of employees in the national archives. That is not the case and, because of privacy laws, virtually the only way of finding the names of ROs is from private collections or directories (including the call books).


So, We would be interested in knowing more about your father.I wonder where you live? The only name that came up on my hard drive for Rafuse was Elizabeth Rafuse who married my colleague, Robert Frank, in Bridgewater (or perhaps Lunenburg) Nova Scotia in 1960. Robert was in the Meteorological Branch and was at Eureka, NU with me in 1957-58. I don`t know the Eileen Rafuse mentioned by Donald above.

Best regards

Ottawa, Ontario



My father was originally from Lawrencetown NS, in the Annapolis Valley and from my understanding attended a wireless school or college in the late 1950s (?) in Saint John New Brunswick. After that he spent time in the Arctic, believe at a site called Resolute or Resolution. Later, he joined the Gypsum ships out of Hantsport NS for several years before becoming a Radio Officer aboard Canadian Hydrograhic Vessels (Baffin, Hudson, Dawson, Acadia, etc.).


I have a lot of his papers after he passed away in 2005 and just now beginning to sift through them all. I found your site and just wondered if anyone in the community might have known him.


I currently live in Eastern Passage Nova Scotia and was myself a Naval Offcer (weapons and communications) for 20+ years. If by chance anyone knew him, it'd be very cool to know that, but in any case I have lots of great memoirs of his time as a wireless officer.

Thanks again, and all the best,


Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia



Hello again, John. Tnx for the further information on your father, Philip Rafuse. Both Resolute Bay and Resolution Island are stations of interest to me. Resolute Bay, which is now an Arctic community, was the second of the Joint  Arctic Weather Stations (JAWS) to be established (1947). Since 2001 a group of us that worked on the JAWS have gathered information and stories about  the High Arctic Stations. I worked on the roll call of people who were on the stations up to about 1960 and Don Shanks in Calgary (copied on this  email) worked on the roll call post-1960. There are dozens of names and we  know we have missed some of them.


Resolution Island was established as a wireless station around 1928 with the normal supply route being from Newfoundland and Labrador and through the HB straits. It was a Canadian station with operators supplied initially by the Department of Marine and Fisheries and, after 1936, by the Department of  Transport. We have been in touch with several people who operated on Resolution Island.


As you go through your father`s papers you might check to see which of the stations he was on, and when, as that information would be of interest both for the JAWS project and for the RadioAlumni project (which is where you first contacted us).


Bill Stadnyk is, like myself, associated both with the JAWS and radio operations, so I have copied this to him as well as he might have  known your father. Also, if your father held an amateur radio operator licence, and you can find his call sign, we might be able to identify him through that route.

Best regards

John Gilbert

Ottawa, Ontario



Reading that Phil Rafuse was a brass pounder from the Maritimes,

Laval Desbiens decided to contact Spud Roscoe


Spud : Would you know of á Philip Rafuse, radio operator ?  Laval


Hi Laval: Yes, Philip Rafuse was from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia and was Radio Officer in CSS Baffn and CSS Hudson. I believe he died some years ago.  Spud


Hello Spud: I knew you were the man who could help so here is the exchanges between his son and my buddies of RadioAlumni. Maybe can you feed him with what you know of the man with cc to us of course. Cheers and stay strong always.  Laval


Hi Gang:  We have quite the thing going on Phil. Unfortunately I did not get to meet him but knew him "on the air" and worked him many times. He had a distinctive fist like I have on a bug and some of the guys called him Twitch. God knows what they called me. I have his ham call sign someplace and it will likely take me awhile to dig it out. Nice to meet you John. I did not know he had a son that is how little I knew about him. I was always going to stop in to Annapolis and have an "eyeball" with him when I went by but never managed unfortunately. My wife is from Weymouth. I too sailed with Gypsum and retired from Coast Guard. Let me see if I can fnd his ham call.


Spud Roscoe VE1BC

Halifax, Nova Scotia



Hi everyone. Incredible to hear from you all, seriously much appreciated.  I can summarize these emails and send back, probably by this weekend; may be able to dig up some other info as well, although that may take a bit longer.  He left a lot of letters and other info to me but for many years it was hard going through them, but I will try to get it done. It's even possible we have some old 35mm slides of the Arctic site, hope to know more this weekend.

Regards All,

John Rafuse


Hi John: Nice to hook up with you and I only wish I had put a better effort into meeting your Dad. Our ships did not get together is the only reason I did not meet him. I believe your Dad owned an oil dealership in Annapolis at one time and Dick Ellis bought it. Is there any truth to that rumour. Dick is gone now and his GM dealership in Digby has been taken over by Bruce Motors.

Best regards,



Obituary  -  Avis de décès

Philip (Phil) Barteaux Rafuse

13 August 1938 - 12 December 2005


RAFUSE, Philip Barteaux - 67, Annapolis Royal, passed away Monday, December 12, 2005, in Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.


Born in Middleton, NS, he was a son of the late John and Celeste (Barteaux) Rafuse.


During a seagoing career of nearly three decades, Philip sailed the world's oceans on merchant and research ships including the Auxiliary Schooner R/V VEMA and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography vessels CSS Baffin, Hudson and Dawson, taking part in a number of significant oceanographic and hydrographic voyages.


He held a certificate as a First Class Radio Officer and, following his wireless training in the 1950's, spent two years in the Canadian Arctic at a remote radio site.


When at home, he had a strong love for the woodlands of his native Annapolis Valley and shared that interest with family and friends throughout his life. Known for his quick wit and enthusiasm for conversation with people at all levels, on any occasion, he enjoyed every day that was given to him.


Those fortunate to have known Philip will remember his positive outlook, humour and courage in the face of difficult illnesses and his abiding love for his family.


He was the husband of Frances (McLeod); father of John "Rory" (Marie-Claude) and Dr. Cher Weild (Peter); grandfather of Jean-Philippe Rafuse and Philip William, and also welcomed into the family Lillian Long (Mike) and Bonnie Brown; brother of Dean (Vermuda) and Glen; uncle to several nieces and nephews.


(Source: John "Rory" Rafuse, son of Phil Rafuse)

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