Assistant Forest Ranger Leslie Greer
Assistant Forest Ranger Leslie Greer, 37
Temperatures skidded in the Maritimes on Thursday November 27, 1959, on the heels of a pounding rain and windstorm that swept through the area on the Wednesday. Four men were presumed drowned as a result of this blow. Temperatures had dropped to nearly freezing on the Thursday and heavy rain and winds up to 80 miles per hour lashed the region on the Wednesday. Chimney’s were toppled basements were flooded and power and communication services disrupted in many area. Heavy damage was reported to bridges and roads in some sections.
Two men were missing and feared drowned in southern New Brunswick after their small boat capsized in a tributary of the Saint John River. The missing men – Donald Woods and Forest Ranger Leslie J. Greer disappeared in the swollen Nepesis stream near Welsford about 25 miles northwest of the Saint John. They had crossed the stream to rescue two stranded Camp Gagetown soldiers, Donald McClean and Edward Suires.
After the boat upset, the soldiers managed to hang on to it as they drifted down the river. The boat finally got snagged in a clump of alder bushes sticking above the water and they hung on flashing a light and yelling. The two soldiers were spotted by the hunters Douglas Cairns and Donald Snodgrass. The hunters stood on the bank shining a light and encouraging the soldiers while forest rangers that had joined the search went for a boat and equipment. Mr. Cairns and Mr. Snodgrasss, with only boards for paddles too the boat out to rescue the pair. Because of the swift water, it took them about three-quarters of an hour to get the troopers ashore.
Mr. Greer performed an invaluable service in saving the life of two men, for that he paid dearly. But it is in his honor that we remember such a valiant effort in such overwhelming conditions. Three volunteers searchers patrolling the river in a boat discovered his body December 6, 1959.