Saturday, August 27, 2016

Operation Noramex

After further research I have determined that there were two exercises named Operation Noramex, Noramex I and Noramex II. Noramex I occurred in 1949 and Noramex II occurred in the early 50's. Haven't got a date on the latter yet. Both occurred when NATO was in its infancy and starting to flex it's muscle. The purpose of both were to test cold weather amphibious exercises and were part of larger fleet exercises conducted by NATO. Noramex I was conducted at and around Cape Porcupine, a point of land jutting out from Porcupine Strand, also called the Wonderstrands. Noramex II was conducted further north at the mouth of Hamilton Inlet which is just a little past the north end of "The Strand". Both exercises involved a large number of troops and ships. Although I do not yet know exactly how many troops were landed on the beaches I do know it involved a Batallion of Marines. Canada was only able to contribute one ship, HMCS Haida at the time. After World War II Canada vastly cut its naval forces.

More than one resident of Cartwright witnessed these exercises including the late Malcolm Pardy. During an interview with him he described being on top of "the base", which is the term we use to describe the hill where the Americans had a radar station at one time, and watching planes flying towards Cape Porcupine.

Just recently a family from the community of Rigolet were out berry picking and came across some unexploded ordnance 40 kilometres south of Rigolet which is about around where Noramex II occurred.