Tanner, Gerald James

Force:  Royal Canadian Navy

Gerald James Tanner was born January 7, 1915.

He worked for Grande Prairie Lumber.

Gerald, along with Harold Fleetwood, set out by boat to hunt west of Grande Prairie.  Putting in at the Grovedale Bridge on Saturday, October 31, 1959, heading downstream, and intending to meet a friend at the Smoky Bridge that evening, they had their motor quit as they rounded a bend in swift water, about halfway between the bridge and the Smoky River.  The boat came to rest against a large fallen spruce tree and then rushing water caught the upstream gunwale whipping the boat under the tree and spilling the two hunters into the cold water.  Walking slowly to shore in their hip waders, they crawled out on the tree and pried the boat loose after tying the bow to the tree.  As the boat swung downstream, the weight of the water snapped the rope and the boat drifted swiftly away.  They had to keep a fire going all night, which was very difficult with only wet wood, to dry their clothes, and Gerald managed to catch a couple of squirrels for food, other game being non-existent in the area.  The hunters had to spend 48 hours in the bush until a search and rescue team found them on Monday.  The boat and motor were found about a mile and a half downstream from the hunters, with a hole in the hull and the outboard motor badly damaged, both repairable.

Gerald died March 24, 2005 in Grande Prairie.

Source:  Grande Prairie Herald Tribune November 3, 1959, Surname index