For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS CLAYOQUOT J174
Laid down as HMS Esperanza, she was renamed Clayoquot J174 in 1940. Named after Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, she was commissioned at Prince Rupert on 02 Aug 1941. After working up, she left Esquimalt on 10 Oct 1941 for Halifax, arriving 14 Nov 1941. Initially assigned to Halifax Local Defence Force, she was transferred in Mar 1942, to WLEF and in May 1942 to Gulf Escort Force. While serving with Gulf Escort Force she rescued 55 survivors of HMCS Charlottetown, torpedoed and sunk near Cap Chat on 11 Sep 1942. In Oct 1942 Clayoquot joined Sydney Force. She arrived at Halifax on 29 Dec 1942 for a major refit, which was progressively carried out there and at Liverpool and Pictou, N.S. Completing her refit in May 1943, she re-joined Sydney Force in Jul 1943 after working up. In Jan 1944, she was transferred to HMCS Cornwallis for officers' training in A/S warfare, and in Oct 1944 was re-assigned to Halifax Force. On 24 Dec 1944, while taking station on convoy XB.139, she was torpedoed and sunk three miles from Sambro Light Vessel by U- 806, losing eight of her crew.
The following is from McLean, Douglas M. (1994) "A Loss of the HMCS Clayoquot," Canadian Military History: Vol. 3: Iss. 2, Article 4 - The torpedo struck without warning. HMCS Clayoquot was returning from an anti-submarine sweep in the approaches to Halifax harbour when its stern rose into the air, mangled by the detonation of a German T-5 acoustic homing torpedo. The men aboard felt two concussions, the second likely being depth charges stored on Clayoquot’s stern set off by the torpedo. Whatever the details, the explosions were devastating for the small Bangor class minesweeper. A grainy photograph of the doomed ship shows the stern blasted vertical, the ship listing to starboard. Clayoquot lasted barely ten minutes after being hit, just long enough for all but eight of her crew to escape. The worst fate befell two young officers trapped in the port forward-cabin. These men called out through a port hole for axes to chop their way to freedom, but all the axes were underwater. The merciless sea closed around them as the ship vanished.
Lieutenant Bill Benson - Greatest Hockey Legends website