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The HMCS Esquimalt (J272) was a Royal Canadian Navy Bangor-Class minesweeper. The ship served in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of the St. Lawrence. On the evening of April 15, 1945, the Esquimalt departed Halifax on antisubmarine patrol in the harbour approaches, and to rendezvous with HMCS Sarnia (J309). In the early morning on April 16, the Esquimalt was torpedoed and sunk by an enemy U-boat, the U-190. The torpedo struck Esquimalt's starboard side engine room at 06:30AM with the explosion knocking out the onboard power instantly, preventing any distress signal being sent. The listed heavily to starboard pushing the lifeboat under water, but the crew managed to get four Carley floats clear of the ship. Esquimalt sank in less than four or five minutes. Because of the lack of distress calls or signals from Esquimalt, and the unfortunate timing of the attack itself, any rescue effort was delayed which resulted in many men losing their lives to exposure. The crew was adrift on the Carley floats in frigid waters with only light clothing for about six hours. Thirty-nine men died as a result of the attack and the exposure that followed. Remaining crew members were rescued with the arrival of Sarnia, who unsuccessfully attacked U-190 after making contact with the submarine. Two Fairmile B motor launches later sent to patrol the area of the sinking depth-charged the wreck of Esquimalt, mistakenly believing it to be a submarine. The ship had gone down approximately five miles off Chebucto Head, near Halifax. The Esquimalt was the last Canadian warship to be sunk by U-boat during the Second World War. Less than a month after the sinking of HMCS Esquimalt, U- 190 surrendered to the Royal Canadian Navy May 11, 1945; after the war in Europe ended May 8/9, 1945. The U-boat was escorted to Bay Bull, Newfoundland by Royal Canadian Naval vessels. There were five of the casualties with ties to Nova Scotia. Name: Carlton Joseph Jacques Service No. V19139 Rank: Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Service: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Date of Birth: April 22, 1920 Place of Birth: Windsor, ON Date of Death: April 16, 1945 Age at Death: 25 Memorial: Halifax Memorial Commemorated on Page 527 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 7 Son of Nelson and Irene Jacques, of Windsor, Ontario. Brother of Edward Charles Jacques, Pauline Hughes and Bob Jacques. Husband of Isa Grace Jacques and father of Carlton Jacques, of Pictou, Nova Scotia. Canadian Virtual War Memorial Name: John Chesworth Knowles Service No.: N4004 Rank: Petty Officer Service: Royal Canadian Navy Date of Birth: September 15, 1923 Place of Birth: Victoria, BC Date of Death: April 16, 1945 Age at Death: 21 Memorial: Halifax Memorial Commemorated on Page 531 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 9 Son of William H. and Annie Knowles, of Victoria, BC and the husband of Etta Knowles, of Sydney, NS Canadian Virtual War Memorial Name: Frederick Le Drew Service No.: V26321 Rank: Leading Stoker Service: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Date of Birth: February 12, 1919 Place of Birth: New Waterford, Cape Breton, NS Date of Death: April 16, 1945 Age at Death: 26 Memorial: Halifax Memorial Commemorated on Page 533 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 10 Son of George and Margaret Le Drew, of New Waterford, NS; husband of Evangeline Le Drew, of New Waterford, NS Canadian Virtual War Memorial Name: Huntley Allison Fanning Service No.: V38246 Rank: Electrical Artificer Service: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Date of Birth: October 28, 1921 Place of Birth: Drum Head, Guysborough Co., NS Date of Death: April 16, 1945 Age at Death: 23 Memorial: Halifax Memorial Commemorated on Page 513 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on October 31 Son of Leonard R. and Theresa Fanning, of Drum Head, NS Canadian Virtual War Memorial
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The Loss of HMCS Esquimalt April 16, 1945
Service held for the casualties of HMCS Esquimalt
Source: Lt. Richard G. Arless / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-157149
Survivors of the minesweeper HMCS Esquimalt, awaiting rescue at sea off Halifax, NS, 16 Apr 1945 Source: Lt Richard G. Arless / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-157029
Name: Albert Kynman Service No.: A/2440 Rank: Chief Petty Officer Service: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Date of Birth: June 3, 1908 Place of Birth: York, United Kingdom Date of Death: April 16, 1945 Age at Death: 36 Memorial: Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax Commemorated on Page 531 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 9 Friend of Gladys E. White, Halifax, NS